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Six held over Isle of Wight church altar blaze

  • 11-28-2011

Six people have been arrested after a church altar was found on fire on the Isle of Wight.

Parishioners discovered the blaze at St Mary the Virgin church, at Carisbrooke, at about 17:30 BST on Sunday. Two crucifixes were also missing.

Churchgoers extinguished the flames before police arrived and officers found one of the crucifixes nearby.

Five men and a boy, aged between 15 and 28, are being held on suspicion of arson and theft.

The suspects are from Ryde, Sandown and Newport.

Insp Nick Heelan, of Hampshire Constabulary, said: "This incident does not appear to be politically motivated and we're not looking at domestic extremism.

"This is just a very unfortunate incident which will clearly impact on the community attending St Mary's.

"It was lucky in this case that parishioners were able to extinguish the fire safely before it could spread."

Police said the second crucifix has not yet been recovered.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2011 BBC

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