HC Deb 07 July 1993 vol 228 cc131-3W
Mr. Alex Carlile

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to reduce the level of international art smuggling through London; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Charles Wardle

The detection of attempted evasions of the United Kingdom's import and export regulations are matters for Her Majesty's Commissioners

Mr. Maclean

The information requested is given in the table.

of Customs and Excise. The Government deplore the illegal export of works of art and other cultural goods and is working in international forums to reduce it.

A recently agreed EC directive provides for the restitution of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of one member state to that of another. The Government are also participating in the drafting of a possible UNIDROIT convention on the restitution of stolen and illegally exported cultural objects.

The Government welcome the initiative by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis to establish an artefacts classification and identification system, which has already led to the recovery of stolen works of art, and support the continuing use of Interpol to trace stolen objects abroad.

Mr. Alex Carlile

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convictions for smuggling works of art were obtained in the United Kingdom in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maclean

For England and Wales records held centrally from 1987 to 1989 show no prosecutions under the relevant sections of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979. Information collected centrally for 1990 and 1991 does not identify offences committed under the aforesaid Act from other summary offences.

Similar information is not collected centrally for Northern Ireland and is not separately identifiable for Scotland.

Back to