The British Museum said Wednesday that it has sacked a staff member and alerted the police after items were discovered to be missing, stolen or damaged.
They included gold jewelry and gems of semi-precious stones and glass dating from the 15th century BC to the 19th century AD, said a statement from the museum, which is one of Britain’s largest tourist attractions.
“The majority of the items in question were small pieces kept in a storeroom belonging to one of the museum’s collections,” it added.
According to museum officials, the damaged and missing items were for academic purposes and not for public display.
“This is a highly unusual incident,” said the museum’s director, Hartwig Fischer.
The museum added that independent legal action led by former trustee Nigel Boardman and Lucy D’Orsi, chief constable of the British Transport Police, is being taken against the staff member who was fired.