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The art and antiques unit goes back on the beat

New head of the Met’s art squad discusses thefts, fakes, looted art and future plans

Rob Upham

Last year there were fears the Metropolitan Police’s Art & Antiques Unit would be closed after two of its members were seconded to the Grenfell Tower fire enquiry.

However, in December the team was reunited and a new boss Det Sgt Rob Upham, with 23 years’ experience in the Met, was brought in to lead the team. ATG caught up with him recently.

ATG: What is the focus for the squad?

Rob Upham: Fakes and looting are our number-one priorities. We have a number of active fakes investigations.

They are very difficult and you obviously have to work hard to prove intent. We have close links with academia and will also approach auction houses for assistance.

The high-value fakes do not emerge very often. But there are a lot at the lower end and this is still a disruption to the art market.

We will look at any crime that can have a significant impact on the London art market.

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About Antiques Trade Gazette

Published every week since 1971, Antiques Trade Gazette is affectionately known as ‘the Bible of the antiques trade’. A long tradition of authority, integrity and accuracy, makes it the essential read for everyone who loves antiques. With a subscription to Antiques Trade Gazette, you’ll stay ahead of all the developments in the art and antiques market, plus you’ll enjoy • A comprehensive auction calendar – see when and where every sale will be happening • Exclusive interviews with dealers, giving you the inside track on the trade • Breaking news on key industry developments • Secrets, stories and tips from leading specialists and collectors • Top lots advertised by auctioneers • Previews of the best art and antiques fairs and markets • Special supplements focusing on specific collecting areas

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