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Last Updated: Monday, 13 November 2006, 17:33 GMT
Forgeries used to fight art crime
An exhibition of seized fake art works is to be used to fight art crime.

The Investigation of Fakes and Forgeries exhibition will showcase examples of forgeries seized by the police.

The display at the Victoria and Albert Museum is designed to show art experts the methods used by forgers to fool investigators.

If the forgeries were genuine, the pieces on display would be worth about 10m in total.

They include forged paintings and sculptures, and examples of false provenance - the documentation that proves an art work is authentic.

According to police, art forgery is increasingly being used to finance operations by criminal networks.

The greatest weapon we have in combating this type of crime is the knowledge and know-how of our partners
Det Sgt Vernon Rapley

"This type of crime can cause significant financial loss to collectors and dealers in London and even (has) the potential to distort the historical study of art and cultural property," a police spokeswoman said.

Det Sgt Vernon Rapley, head of the Metropolitan Police's Arts and Antiques Unit, said: "The greatest weapon we have in combating this type of crime is the knowledge and know-how of our partners."

Forgers use a range of techniques that are continually evolving, from document forgery, to pigment analysis and virtual criminal networks, police said.

But according to Det Sgt Rapley: "As quickly as criminals are adapting their techniques we are also developing ways to eliminate this type of crime."

The exhibition, which runs from 21-23 November, has been sponsored by the Art Loss Register to raise awareness in the industry of art crimes.

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