A man tried to smash a glass box containing the Magna Carta in Salisbury Cathedral.
  • A man tried to steal the Magna Carta, an 800-year-old document that first established that there are limits on the power of kings, from Salisbury Cathedral in the UK on Thursday.
  • The suspect tried to smash the glass box containing the document, police said.
  • He used a hammer to break the box and tried to destroy the document as well, local media said.
  • The document was not damaged and nobody was injured.
  • The suspect was arrested and is in police custody.


A man was arrested for stealing an original Magna Carta, one of the most important documents in history, from a cathedral in southern England.

A 45-year-old man tried to smash the glass box containing the document shortly before 5PM local time on Thursday, Wiltshire Police said in a statement.

The suspect used a hammer to try to break the box, and tried to destroy the document, the local Salisbury Journal newspaper reported, citing a witness.

The Magna Carta, one of four, was not damaged and nobody was injured, police said.

The suspect was arrested on suspicion of attempted theft, possession of an offensive weapon and criminal damage, the force added. He is now in police custody.

Here's how Salisbury Cathedral kept the document in 2015:

The Magna Carta encased in Salisbury Cathedral's Cloisters and Chapter House in February 2015.

The Magna Carta was drawn up in June 1215 and outlines a charter of rights agreed to by King John of England. The document, which was seen to lay out people's rights against an oppressive ruler, forms the basis of British law.

It also influenced constitutions and legal systems in countries around the world, such as the US Bill of Rights and state constitutions.

Only four copies of the Magna Carta exist in the entire world, and Salisbury Cathedral's version is the best-preserved one.

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