File this under “all cultures are equal”. It was a gypsy feud or something…
Up to 150 officers from five forces across Northern England were involved in the raids at travellers’ sites.
The macabre theft from Metal Bridge Cemetery, County Durham, over the weekend was the latest in a series of shocking incidents from two factions of the travelling community, police said.
The swoops on travellers’ sites and homes in Doncaster, York, Middlesbrough, West Rainton near Durham, and Gateshead were aimed at getting more information about the feud.
Led by Durham Police, the operation led to a number of arrests, firearms being seized and vehicles towed away.
Specialist cadaver dogs, trained to find dead bodies, were used at sites to try to locate the stolen skulls.
They belonged to brothers Levi George and Gareth Price, who both died aged 16, in 2001 and 2005 respectively.
It was deliberately done to antagonise a rival faction, police believe, and has sickened the vast majority of travellers.
At the site in West Rainton, police search specialists were scouring the area around the neat bungalows for evidence.
And at Gateshead, close to the International Stadium, around 30 officers were carrying out searches.
A silver Ford saloon was taken away on a police recovery vehicle.
Police sniffer dogs wagged their tails as they were sent into outbuildings.