Pictured: British Museum worker sacked after artefacts theft

The identity of a British Museum curator who has been accused of stealing and damaging items from the collection has been revealed as Ancient Greece expert Peter John Higgs.

Mr Higgs, 56, was sacked and an independent review of security was launched after the London institution said gold, jewellery and gems dating from 1,500 BC to the 19th century had been taken.

The matter is also under investigation by the economic crime command of the Metropolitan Police, but it is understood that no arrests have been made.

Staff were tipped off in 2020 by an antiquities expert who noticed priceless objects for sale on the online marketplace eBay, according to the Telegraph.

However, Mr Higgs’ son Greg told the newspaper his father, who was curator of Mediterranean cultures, had lost his job last month.

He said: ‘His name has been completely dragged through the mud and demonised. He hasn’t been doing great since it happened.

‘It’s been really sad to watch him be so upset all the time about it. I had never seen him cry before this.’

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The family of the curator, who worked at the museum for three decades, have protested his innocence and said they will clear his name.

A spokesperson for the museum said none of the missing objects had been on public display recently, and they were ‘kept primarily for academic and research purposes’.

Last year, Mr Higgs was part of a team from the British Museum that helped to return a 2,000-year-old looted statue to its home in Libya after it was seized by Border Force officials in 2013.

At the time, Mr Higgs told the Guardian: ‘It is just lovely to be part of a story which has a happy ending.

‘It will go back to Libya and stand in one of its museums as a star piece, it is a lovely feeling to be part of that.’

Hartwig Fischer, the museum’s director, apologised for the incident and added: ‘We have now brought an end to this – and we are determined to put things right.

‘We have already tightened our security arrangements and we are working alongside outside experts to complete a definitive account of what is missing, damaged and stolen.

‘This will allow us to throw our efforts into the recovery of objects.’

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