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Grand Theft Auto chief set to buy Edinburgh church

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Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies is set to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars buying a central Edinburgh church.

According to a report in the Edinburgh Evening News, the developer behind the Grand Theft Auto franchise will spend "well in excess of £500,000" on purchasing St. Stephen's Church, a well known landmark in the Scottish capital. He is preserving the church, built in 1827, as "an entirely philanthropic purchase" for the community's use, according to a spokesperson.

St. Stephen's is often used as a venue during Edinburgh's arts and entertainment festivals. According to the local report, Benzies beat out other potential buyers, some of whom were keen to develop the church into commercial property.

Benzies was born in Edinburgh in 1971. He worked as a programmer for DMA Design, which launched the original Grand Theft Auto in the late 1990s, and has worked on the street crime series of games, through to last year's Grand Theft Auto 5.