Cyprus Mail

Paphos mayor says he feel vindicated following archaeology arrests

Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos

Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos said he felt vindicated following arrests made in connection with antiquities found in Limassol district.

Phedonos alleged earlier this year that important artefacts, many of them removed during illegal excavations in the Paphos district, were being traded illegally in Limassol.

The mayor recalled that he had spoken of warehouses and circles of people dealing in antiquities, something now confirmed by the police investigations and operations carried out in communities in the Limassol district.

Phedonos’ statements followed the three-day remand on Thursday of a man in connection with ancient artefacts registered to, but found not to be in his collection, as well as a large number of illegally held archaeological objects.

Police earlier arrested three men and a woman in raids on three properties in the Limassol area, which were carried out in a Europe-wide operation, codenamed ‘Pandora’ to combat organised crime.

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

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 an Erimi residence police discovered 157 objects which included ecclesiastical art, prehistoric artefacts and items from the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

At a house in Mouttagiaka, the authorities found 22 copper coins from Roman and early Christian times.

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

Apart from the unregistered artefacts found to be in the remanded man’s possession, he kept a collection for which he had a licence from the director of antiquities. However, police say that nine of these items were missing without him being able to give adequate explanations.

Police requested his remand as they could not rule out the possibility the items had been sold.

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