(TELEGRAPH) — Austerity-struck Paris has been hit by a wave of street muggings and grave robberies with thieves prepared to exhume bodies to steal gold and jewellery.

Last week, police in the French capital arrested three people as part of a widening grave robbery investigation.

There was further public outrage after two masked intruders shot dead a 52-year old precious metal worker when he tried to stop them stealing gold from his foundry in the chic central Parisian district of Le Marais.

Police said sky-high market prices for precious metals are acting as a magnet for thieves with scant regard for the living or the dead.

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