A BRIT tourist has been arrested at Pompeii for stealing a mosaic from a wall at the world famous site.
The woman from Tunbridge Wells who was with her parents and sister, had stopped to admire the Casa dell’ ancora, a villa that takes its name from a mosaic of an anchor on the wall.
According to local media reports, the 21-year-old climbed over a rope barrier and chiselled off about 20 pieces of mosaic from an elegant white floor criss-crossed with black lines.
“The guard stopped her and asked for her details to make a report, but she declined and walked away, leaving the mosaic pieces on the ground,” a police official said, The Times reported.
“The guard called us, we stopped the family and brought them to our office to identify them.
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“The woman showed little remorse, despite the fact she may stand trial and get a suspended sentence of up to eight months, while repairs will cost €3,000 (£2,600).”
Pompeii was buried by pumice and ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD79 and has become a magnet for tourists many of whom unfortunately try to make off with artefacts.
Last year a French tourist was fined £170 and given a suspended prison sentence after he tried to leave Pompeii with a backpack stuffed full of ancient artefacts.
“This time the offender was British but the chief offenders are the French,” the police official said.
Sometimes thieves feel remorse including a Canadian tourist who in 2014 returned an artefact she had stolen from Pompeii’s amphitheatre during her honeymoon 50 years earlier, the Local.it reported.
Items are often stolen to be sold on the world antiques market.
A special unit of the Carabinieri police is devoted to tracking down expert thieves and the dealers in London and New York to whom they sell.
Three years ago three fragments of fresco ripped off walls at Pompeii in 1957 were returned from the US after an investigation.
Last year tunnels more than 200 yards long used by thieves were found at the city.
People who have stolen items say that they have brought bad luck.
Five packages from Spain containing stolen items arrived with a letter in which the writer said they had “brought a curse upon his family”.
Dozens of visitors who stole fragments of ceramics have returned them to Pompeii, saying they had suffered horrible misfortune.
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