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Rockstar North boss buys church in Edinburgh

GTA V studio head Leslie Benzies acquires landmark in deal thought to be worth £500,000

Leslie Benzies, studio head at Grand Theft Auto 5 developer Rockstar North, has purchased a church in Edinburgh in a deal thought to be worth more than half a million pounds.

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(From left to right) Aaron Garbut, Sam Houser, Dan Houser, Leslie Benzies

A spokesperson for the games executive said the acquisition of St Stephen's Church was "entirely philanthrophic", adding that the money will help preserve the Georgian building and keep it to a standard that the public can enjoy.

Benzies' spokesperson told Edinburgh News that the church would also be used as a local arts venue.

"Stockbridge is a busy residential area with a relatively small number of community venues," the spokesperson added.

"The preservation of St Stephen's church as a community centre meets a pressing need as well as protecting an important historical building. We are delighted that we can help bring the church back to its former glory, securing its future whilst providing a renovated local and performing arts centre that will benefit the wider community."

Benzies is part of a tight executive circle within the upper management of Rockstar Games, along with Sam and Dan Houser and art director Aaron Garbut. The studio's latest release, Grand Theft Auto 5, sold close to thirty million units in six weeks.

A PC, PS4 and Xbox One version is due for release by the end of the year.

Benzies representative added that the purchase of St Stephen's Church had not been completed.

"My client looks forward to completing the sale imminently to secure the plans for the church's ongoing use," the spokesperson said.

"We will engage with the community as the plans progress and look forward to welcoming local residents and groups back to the centre in the very near future."

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