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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 September 2006, 18:00 GMT 19:00 UK
Stolen Iraqi artefact returned
Met detectives have returned a valuable Iraqi manuscript worth 250,000 after it was stolen almost 30 years ago.

The book dates back to 1013AD and is one of the most important books from the Al-AwQaf library in Mosul.

It came to police attention when a man attempted to sell it to a London auction house in August 2003.

The Met's specialist Arts and Antiques Unit was alerted and an investigation conducted. The artefact was handed to the Iraqi ambassador.

No charges

The man was arrested in November 2003 and although there was insufficient evidence to charge him, he chose to disclaim the item.

Detectives were unable to establish where the manuscript was prior to 2003.

A second artefact was also returned - an ancient Aramaic incantation bowl believed to have been illegally looted from an unknown area of Iraq and worth about 1,000 to 2,000.

Det Sgt Vernon Ripley who heads the Arts and Antiques Unit said: "The return of these items demonstrates the success of our unit in raising awareness within the London arts market of the need to be aware of stolen artefacts being sold on."

Both artefacts were received by the Iraqi Ambassador for London, Dr Salah Al-Shaikhly, after being handed over by Commander Sue Wilkinson.


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