Despite their stated aim of destroying ancient cultural heritage, the so-called Islamic State have been looting Syria and Northern Iraq and selling the antiquities they find to raise money for their activities. It has now becoming apparent that some of those artifacts may be ending up on the market in London. Simon Cox is the BBC’s investigative reporter and Dick Ellis is former head of the Metropolitan Police's Art and Antiques squad.Cox reminds of the satellite images showing the amount of looting taking place in Syria. He talks about the offering of a lintel from Syria in a Mayfair gallery. He talks about the 'invoice' from 2007 but it does not give any details (and need not be associated with the lintel). He acknowledged the difficulty of identifying material that had been looted by IS.
Former police officer Dick Ellis is critical of the law enforcement agencies in the UK: "a perfect example of the laws not working", "not actively policed by the police in the country". He points out the legislation that could be used to enforce interception. He also reminds us that the Art and Antiques Squad only operate 'for London'.
Today quotes the Home Office statement that mentions the way that it consults museum officials.
Cox was the reporter for BBC Radio 4's File on 4 investigation in February 2015.