Police chief in battle over gold wreath

The gold wreath. Picture: Comp

The gold wreath. Picture: Comp

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SCOTLAND’S most senior police officer is involved in a bizarre legal wrangle over the ownership of a gold wreath dating from the 4th century BC.

Chief Constable Sir Stephen House is cited as the pursuer in a legal action to establish ownership of the item, which is said to have been used as a funeral gift for royalty or nobility during the time of Alexander the Great and is made of 92 to 93 per cent “ancient gold”.

Police said the wreath was seized from a business premises during an operation in Edinburgh in 2010.

Murat Aksakalli, of Northfield Grove, Portobello, and the Turkish government are named as the defenders in a legal notice which appeared in connection with the Court of Session case.

Few details of the wreath are available, but there is a similar piece in the collections of the British Museum. According to the museum’s experts, wreaths were left in burial sites in Macedonia, southern Italy and Asia Minor from the 4th century BC onwards.

The Turkish embassy in London said it was unaware of the case. A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “The item is being held by police until ownership can be determined by the Court of Session.”