A priest is expected to be charged in court with his alleged involvement in the theft of sacred works of art worth around €100,000.

Fr Deo Debono, parish priest of Saint Augustine's Church, Valletta, has admitted his involvement in the theft, police sources say.

Meanwhile, he has been stopped from exercising his priestly ministry in public and has been removed from parish priest by Archbishop Charles Scicluna in agreement with Provincial Fr Leslie Gatt.

The Archbishop's ban remains in place for as long as police investigations and any other procedures in the Civil Court are concluded, the Curia said in a statement.

It is understood the theft happened at Saint Augustine's Church some months ago but the police began to investigate him when a stolen cassolette - incense boat - appeared at an antique shop.

Fr Debono was arrested and questioned at length by the police and is now out on police bail.


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