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Four arrested, one remanded as part of EU wide raids

A man was remanded by Limassol court on Thursday for three days in connection with ancient artefacts registered to, but found not to be in his collection, as well as a large number of archaeological objects illegally held.

Police arrested three men and a woman in raids on three addresses in Limassol district which were carried out in the framework of joint Europe-wide operations, codenamed ‘Pandora’ to combat organised crime.

The operations, which were coordinated through Europol with the cooperation of UNESCO, Interpol and the US authorities, were carried out simultaneously in 20 EU countries.

Police say a search of a home in Pissouri uncovered 1,145 clay pots and other items of metal and stone dating back to the copper age and Roman era.

At a house in Erimi police discovered 157 objects which included ecclesiastical art, prehistoric artefacts and items from the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

A third residence in Mouttagiaka was found to contain 22 copper coins from roman and early Christian times, between the fourth and seventh century.

The searches were carried out by police and archaeological department officials.

Three of those arrested were charged and released.

Police say that apart from the artefacts found to be in possessing of the man who was remanded, he kept a collection for which he had a licence from the director of antiquities, but from which nine items were missing without him being able to give adequate explanations.

His remand was requested as police could not rule out the possibility these had been sold and considered it necessary to the ongoing investigation that he be detained longer.

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