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Raiders target archaeology digs

An estimated 520,000 historical artefacts "are stolen from sites every year" in France

RAIDS on archaeological sites in France are on the rise, experts have warned.

An estimated 520,000 objects of historical value go missing from sites across the country every year, said archaeologist Céline Choquenet, who is a member of the Stop the Looting organisation.

“People go to sites every night,” she told France 3. “They head to Roman cemeteries, where there they can find gold, weapons and helmets.”

The illegally acquired finds are often then sold to collectors. It can be highly profitable. Some items change hands for thousands of euros, Ms Choquenet said.

A 60-year-old winemaker appeared in court in Meaux, Seine-et-Marne, yesterday, accused of taking hundreds of Gallo-Roman artefacts from archaeological sites.

It is alleged he carried out archaeological excavations “without authorisation”.

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