Norrland church thief jailed

A 54-year-old Spanish man who was suspected of looting churches across northern Sweden during the past 12 years was sentenced by the Sundsvall district court on Friday to four an a half years in jail.

The man was convicted of theft and receiving stolen goods. Prosecutors originally sought seven years jail for the man who was suspected of some 30 thefts in churches, chapels and museums around Norrland. Many of the objects stolen were priceless historic artefacts.

Police suspected an international crime gang was behind the thefts, but after a missing item appeared on the Internet as being for sale, police were led to the 54-year-old.

The man was arrested in Tenerife, Spain in October, but has denied committing any crimes.