A Buckingham Palace servant stole “irreplaceable” medals and royal memorabilia worth some £100,000 before flogging it on eBay.
A court heard how Adamo Canto took various items from the Royal Household and the Royal Shop at Buckingham Palace, saying that he intended to give them extra cleaning because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Former catering assistant Canto had worked at the palace for five years but was given extra Covid-19 cleaning duties which gave him access to lockers which he raided for the valuables.
The 37-year-old also took other items from the Palace including signed photos of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge and a photo album of the Royal State Banquet during US President Donald Trump's state visit – which Canto reportedly sold for £1,500 on eBay.
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Among other items which went missing between November 11 2019 and August 7 included a Companion of the Order of the Bath and a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order medal.
At the first day of his sentencing hearing today, Southwark Crown Court heard Canto had taken the goods so he could re-sell them in order to pay off payday loan debts.
Officers who searched his parents' home, in Scarborough, found stolen items, including a gold fish-patterned tea set, and eBay records which showed he sold his haul for just £10,688.
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A "conservative" estimate brought the total count of stolen items to 150, with a total estimated value in the region of £100,000.
They also searched Canto's home in Royal Mews, part of the palace, where they found items including silk pyjamas and a jewellery box nabbed from the Royal Shop.
Canto previously pleaded guilty to the crimes at Westminster Crown Court. Sadly, some of the items may never be recovered.
A victim impact statement from Sir Anthony Johnstone-Burt, Queen's Master of the Household, head of "below stairs operations", said: "I noticed the medal was missing on June 11. I needed to wear it for Trooping of the Colour.
"I had to borrow a medal and reported it on June 29. The reason I waited was because I had to make sure I hadn't misplaced it.
"I had been informed by a member of the Royal Household that items from Buckingham Palace were being sold on eBay.
"I discovered that my Companion of the Order of the Bath was up for sale for £500. It had been sold for £350. The replacement value is £665.
"I knew this was my medal because of the ribbon. I had sewed on an additional hook and eye."
Retired British Army officer Major General Matthew Sykes, who served in the Royal Household from 2007 to 2010, lost his Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.
He said: "I was made aware on August 24 a number of medals had gone missing. I checked my locker and found the medal was missing from my personal locker.
"Police were made aware on August 25.
"To have something stolen from you is always upsetting but this is a medal given to me privately and personally by The Queen.
"The original is irreplaceable."
Canto was described as 'naive' and 'unworldly' by his barrister who said he would struggle to cope in jail.
He bowed his head in the dock as he was sentenced to eight months imprisonment.
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