British Museum to sue ex-curator for allegedly stealing nearly 2,000 items

British Museum. Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/ShareAlike 3.0 Unreported

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IBNS-CMEDIA: The British Museum has filed a lawsuit against former curator Peter Higgs, who has been alleged to have stolen almost 2,000 artifacts from the museum’s collections and offered them for sale online, UK media have reported.

The Independent reported that the museum filed the lawsuit on Tuesday. The report cited lawyers for the museum as saying that Higgs, who was fired in 2023 after over 1,8000 items disappeared, “abused his position of trust” to steal the artifacts from storerooms over a decade.

The High Court of Justice in London ordered Higgs to list or return any items in his possession within four weeks and disclose his eBay and PayPal records, the newspaper reported.

The ex-curator did not attend the hearing due to poor health, as the report cited lawyers as saying.

Higgs denies the allegations and intends to dispute the museum’s legal claim, the report said.

At the same time, police are conducting a separate investigation into the case, and Higgs has not been charged with a crime, the report added.

In August 2023, the British Museum, dubbed by critics as the world’s largest recipient of stolen goods, admitted that some 2,000 items from its collection, mostly gems and jewellery dating from the 15th century BC to the 19th century AD, were “missing, stolen, or damaged.” Some of them have reportedly shown up on eBay.