Sunday, 8 May 2016

Church Thief Lands in Jail


Jail may be uncomfortable Mr Cooper, wait till you get to Hell
The case of R v Christopher Cooper (resulting from West Mercia Police's 'Operation Icarus') saw what was said to be the first use of the offence of Dealing in Tainted Cultural Objects (Jeanette Oldham 'Crooked amateur antiques dealer who stole 'priceless' religious relics from churches across UK jailed' 6 May 2016) 
 A crooked amateur antiques dealer has been jailed after stealing ‘priceless’ religious relics from churches across the country, including bibles, crucifixes and a stone coffin. Christopher Cooper, 48, netted £150,000 from selling ancient items to unsuspecting collectors during a three-year crime spree after targeting unsecured places of worship. Yet the church raider had no previous convictions and only turned to crime after spotting a ‘gap in the market’ after buying 14th Century stone sculptures for £50 at a car boot sale, then later selling them for £250 on eBay. His subsequent crime blitz saw him travel to quiet parish churches across England and Wales, where he would initially pose as a visitor before leaving. Unemployed Cooper would later return to steal more than 30 stone, glass, and wooden relics dating from as far back as the 9th Century, by packing them into his reinforced rucksack. [...] He was jailed for three years and eight months at Hereford Crown Court after previously admitting fraud, specimen theft charges, and dealing in tainted cultural objects, the first time that offence has been used. 
 I wonder though how any collector who did their due diligence properly can be described as "unsuspecting" (the ones that did not can only be classed as unscrupulous). 

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