LONDON - A man was convicted Friday of attempting to steal a priceless 1215 original version of the Magna Carta, smashing its case with a hammer.

Mark Royden, 47, attacked the protective glass surrounding the historic manuscript at Salisbury Cathedral but was chased off by tourists and eventually cornered by stonemasons.

Royden was found guilty by a jury at Salisbury Crown Court in southwest England of attempted theft and criminal damage to the security case costing £14,466 ($18,900, 17,150 euros) to fix.

Royden apparently believed the Salisbury Magna Carta was a fake.

Four original copies from 1215 remain in existence: two in the British Library in London, one at Salisbury Cathedral, and one at Lincoln Cathedral, in eastern England.

The charter has defined rights and liberties around the world.

“There is an irony that the charter of the Magna Carta that this defendant is charged with attempting to steal states that no free man may be imprisoned other than by the lawful judgement of his peers,” judge Richard Parkes told the jury.

“It still holds good and is in the process of the court right now.”

In June 1215, the despotic king John accepted the demands of rebellious barons to curb his powers and agreed the charter at Runnymede, a meadow by the River Thames west of London.

Copies were written out and sent around the country.

Indonesia offers reward for plucking tyre off giant croc’s neck

INDONESIA - Indonesian authorities are offering a reward to anyone who can rescue a saltwater crocodile with a motorbike tyre stuck around its neck -- and survive.

The contest will see one brave croc hunter land an unspecified amount of cash, but it will mean coming face to face with the 13-foot (4-metre) reptile Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi.

Local conservation authorities have been trying -- and failing -- for several years to find a way to untangle the croc after video showed it gasping for air. That sparked worries the tyre was slowly killing the beast. After a recent sighting, the province’s governor instructed his resource-strapped conservation agency to figure out how to end years of fruitless attempts.

The agency offered few details on the reward, or how outsiders might pull off the task.

But its chief -- who said the cash would come out of his own pocket -- warned that he was not calling on amateurs to hunt down the reptile, but rather addressing people with a background in wildlife rescue and a thirst for conservation.

“We’re asking the general public not to get close to the crocodile or disturb its habitat,” said HasmuniHasmar, head of the Central Sulawesi Natural Resources Conservation Agency.