Saturday 11 April 2020

Five years ago... UK Investigated Syrian Looting

Regarding Dr St John Simpson's recent claim that looted artefacts from Syria (for some reason, when they are turning up elsewhere), "can't possibly" be coming onto the UK antiquities market.... Five years ago... according to the BBC (Andrea Watson, 'Islamic state and the 'blood antique[sic]' trade' BBC 2nd April 2015):
Reportedly, Scotland Yard has four investigations in progress related to Syrian antiques – but without much greater financial help, closing down the networks that move the loot around the world seems an impossible task.
So what happened there? They were "in progress" and then they were not? The Metropolitan Police’s Art and Antiques Unit, without a supervisor since Claire Hutcheon left in March 2016, was disbanded in the wake of the June 2017 Grenfell Tower fire. It was re-formed in December 2017. The re-formed unit consisted of just a supervisor and three staff. Could this not be an explanation of why Britain has made such slow progress in dealing with the antiquities trade?

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