Page last updated at 19:40 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009

Thieves of Croesus riches jailed

Golden brooch
The stolen treasures have not been recovered

A museum director in Turkey has been sentenced to nearly 13 years in jail for stealing precious artefacts from a collection in his care.

A court convicted Kazim Akbiyiklioglu and nine other members of staff for the theft of a coin and a golden brooch in the shape of a winged horse.

The items in the museum in Usak were part of the treasures of King Croesus, dating back to the 6th-7th Century BC.

The theft was exposed by an anonymous letter to local officials in 2006.

The informer claimed that the gold coin and a golden brooch shaped like a winged horse had been stolen from the local museum and replaced with worthless fakes.

After a long investigation, Turkey's culture ministry concluded the theft was an inside job.

On Friday, a court in Usak, western Turkey, found the 10 people guilty of stealing the precious artefacts.

The treasures have not been recovered.

It is the second time the collection of rich King Croesus, sometimes known as the Lydian Hoard, has gone astray.

It was excavated illegally and smuggled to America in the 1960s. It was only returned to Turkey 30 years later by the Metropolitan Museum of New York - after a long legal battle.

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