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Robert Wilde

Call for Harsh Sentences for Crimes against Heritage Sites

By January 4, 2013

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Britain has a problem with the criminal damage of Heritage Sites, and the head of English Heritage is calling for tougher sentences to deal with it. According to the opening of this Telegraph article, one in five of England's 'listed' buildings was damaged by crime last year, but Simon Thurley, the Head of English Heritage, believes the Justice System falls down when it comes to Judges giving punishing.

Speaking to the same paper about the disparity in punishment between a man who damaged a prehistoric site and a man who damaged a Rothko painting in a gallery, he explained "I think we've got perfectly good laws, perfectly good enforcement. The system works. The failure in my view comes at the court - where is the deterrent? ... I do think there's an issue of calibration between a Rothko painting and a prehistoric monument. Obviously it's really bad news that someone goes and damages a valuable painting in the Tate Modern. But why does destroying an ancient monument have a lesser punishment?" He believes harsher sentences would act as a deterrent.

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