Late Pope's blood found

Last updated 12:58 01/02/2014

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Italian police have recovered a vial containing the late Pope John Paul II's blood, and say it was stolen by drug addicts.

The vial, which contained a piece of blood-stained cloth from the Pope's clothing, was taken from the Church of St Peter of Ienca in the Abruzzo mountains last weekend.

Police recovered the relic from a garage after a search involving more than 50 officers and sniffer dogs, The Daily Mail reported

Two men in their twenties have been arrested for the theft, and are believed to be drug addicts, police told a press conference in L'Aquila, east of Rome.

Bishop Giovanni D'Ercole said he had been able to mend the vial, which was found in pieces.

"I think John Paul has forgiven them. I think we have to do the same," he said of the men.

It was initially believed a satanic sect was behind the theft.

The cloth was taken from the Pope, who died in 2005, after he was shot in a failed assassination attempt in 1981.

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