Greek village priest held over church treasure dig

AP News
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Posted: Jan 27, 2012 4:58 AM
Greek village priest held over church treasure dig

Police in northern Greece have arrested a village priest and a church elder for allegedly digging for treasure in the chancel of the church.

A police statement Friday says villagers complained of loud drilling noises late Thursday from the church at Fyska near Kilkis, some 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Thessaloniki.

Officers found a two-by-one-meter (six-by-three-foot) hole in the chancel of the 150-year-old church of the Prophet Elijah. Police are seeking four other people suspected of taking part in the illegal dig _ in which a pneumatic drill was used.

Illegal treasure hunting has increased amid Greece's acute financial crisis. In recent months, police have made a string of arrests, mainly in the north of the country, and located several tunnels.