Briton arrested in Spanish hotel on suspicion of stealing ancient artifacts from Italy

James Badcock , Madrid Nick Squires , Rome29/08/2017

A British man has been arrested in Spain on suspicion of stealing a collection of ancient Roman artifacts from Italy.

The 55-year-old man was allegedly found to be in possession of a large quantity of ancient Roman, early Christian and Arab antiquities.

The man, identified only by his initials, W.T.V, was arrested earlier this month in a hotel in Los Palacios y Villafranca, south of Seville, after police conducted a routine security check on guests.

 His name came up on a database and showed that an Italian court had issued a warrant for his arrest.

He was in possession of “very valuable collector’s items” for which he was unable to show proof of ownership, a spokeswoman for the Spanish police said.

They included 90 packets of Roman and Arab coins, six clay lamps, and a ceramic image of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. In total, there were around 140 valuable antiquities.

Spanish police said their investigation was still ongoing because “the suspect may have accomplices or colleagues helping him in the antiquities trade”.

The authorities are examining databases of stolen artefacts in an attempt to trace the provenance of the antiquities and contact the private owners or museum from which they were allegedly stolen.

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