'Grail' relic recovered by police
Published 26/06/2015 | 10:51
A relic believed by some to be the Holy Grail and stolen from a home nearly a year ago has been recovered by police.
West Mercia Police said it had tracked down the Nanteos Cup and now returned the wooden chalice to its rightful owners.
The cup, which measures 10cm by 8.5cm, is believed to have been stolen during a burglary in Weston Under Penyard near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire, in July last year.
A specialist team was set up by police to hunt down the relic and the story featured in an appeal on BBC's Crimewatch programme.
A spokesman for the force said as a result of the coverage, they received "several significant lines of inquiry from anonymous sources".
Police have been tight-lipped on the circumstances of exactly how the cup was recovered but did say it had been handed to officers "on neutral ground" in a pre-arranged meeting, on Friday June 19.
The police spokesman said: "An anonymous source came forward after seeing the Crimewatch appeal which resulted in it being physically handed in.
"Some people may class it as the Holy Grail, but that's only speculation.
"As far as the police are concerned this is a treasured object, and we are happy to have reunited it with its rightful owners.
"We take the theft of any item very seriously."
The investigation on tracing the culprits is continuing, the spokesman added.
Detective Inspector Martyn Barnes, the investigating officer, said: "I would like to thank everyone who helped us with our inquiries and who shared the appeal, which significantly aided us in recovering the cup.
"Following the recovery of the cup, no arrests have been made and inquiries into the theft continue.
"However, we are very pleased it has now been returned to its rightful owners."
Described by police as a "medieval mazer bowl, a wooden cup or chalice" the item was stored in a blue velvet bag.
The family which own the relic had offered £1,000 reward for its safe return, with an additional £1,000 put up by police for its recovery and the successful conviction of the thieves.
Police said as nobody had been prosecuted, it would not be paying that reward.
Many stories surround the origins of the cup, with some believing it to have been the one from which Christ drank at the Last Supper.
When stolen it is thought to have been on loan to a sick woman, because of its supposed healing powers, with thieves taking the cup from the home while she had been in hospital.
The home had been broken into in what police believe was a targeted theft of the cup.
A 39-year-old man from Ross-on-Wye was arrested on suspicion of burglary on May 6, in connection with the investigation.
However, police said it was decided to take no further action against the man.