Arrests made in grave robbery investigation

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The Independent Online

Five people were being questioned last night by detectives investigating the desecration of a woman's grave last year.

Two suspects, a man and a woman, were arrested on suspicion of digging up the remains of Gladys Hammond and removing them. Three other men were detained on suspicion of being extremists responsible for attacks on the farm owned by relatives of Mrs Hammond.

The body of the 82-year-old woman was taken from her grave in the grounds of St Peter's Church in Yoxall, Staffordshire during the night of 5 October last year. Mrs Hammond's son-in-law co-owns a guinea pig breeding farm in nearby Newchurch, which has been targeted by animal rights campaigners.

A 32-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman were detained at a house in Gloucester by officers from Staffordshire Police. Forensic science teams searched the house in Lysons Avenue while the pair, who were arrested at 6am, were taken to Stafford police station for questioning.

A spokesman confirmed that none of Mrs Hammond's remains had been recovered. Property from the house and a car were removed and are being examined.

In a separate incident three men were arrested shortly before 6am in the Newchurch area of Staffordshire. The car in which they were travelling was stopped by officers who detained them on suspicion of causing criminal damage. The suspects were taken to Burton police station and the car was seized for examination.

Another two men and one woman are still on bail after being arrested last year in connection with the case.