Updated Aug 16, 2023, 1:24pm EDT

British Museum fires staff member over stolen and damaged goods

Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto

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A staff member at the British Museum has been fired after several pieces of “gold jewellery and gems of semi-precious stones and glass dating from the 15th century BC to the 19th century AD” went missing from a storeroom.

The pieces were reportedly not on public display and were kept separately for academic and research purposes.

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In a statement, the museum said that it has launched an independent inquiry and a ”vigorous" search into the missing items and is also pursuing legal action against the fired staff member.

The incident is also being investigated by the Economic Crime Command of the Metropolitan Police.

George Osborne, chair of the British Museum, said that items were discovered to be stolen “earlier this year,” though experts are still working to determine what exactly is missing, damaged, or stolen.

Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum, described the incident as “highly unusual,” adding that the museum takes “the safeguarding of all the items” in their care “extremely seriously.”

The museum, located in Central London, has already tightened security measures as officials focus on recovering the missing objects.