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School of Law

Dr Saskia Hufnagel speaks to the Evening Standard about art theft in London


Whether it’s an elaborate forgery of a Damien Hirst Spin painting, a Banksy swiped from an Islington flat by Airbnb-ers, or ISIS’s looting of historical antiquities in Palmyra, art crime is happening every day. It is now ranked the third highest grossing criminal enterprise, behind drugs and arms dealing respectively, according to an article exploring 'How London became a hotspot for art theft' in the Evening Standard. In 2013, figures suggested that thefts of art and antiques in the UK alone totalled more than £300m. Dr Saskia Hufnagel, Senior Lecturer in Criminal Law at Queen Mary University of London, comments: “I’m sympathetic to the view that knife crime is more important than art crime, But when we think about how stolen art could be used as a currency to fund arms, drugs and terrorism, we’re talking about more than just losing cultural property.”



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