UK police hold man over Churchill fake signatures

LONDON Fri Feb 4, 2011 12:00am IST

The Big Ben clock and a statue of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill are silhouetted against the morning sky in central London, January 1, 2010. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

The Big Ben clock and a statue of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill are silhouetted against the morning sky in central London, January 1, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Eddie Keogh

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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - British police have arrested a 65-year-old man suspected of forging the signature of wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill in books and then attempting to sell them on eBay or directly to buyers.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service's Art and Antiques Unit made the arrest on Thursday in the southern English town of Lymington.

They were alerted to a number of Churchill books and memorabilia alleged to have fake signatures and offered for sale during the last 18 months.

"These items were all purportedly signed by Churchill himself, thereby increasing their value as much as 1,000 percent," the police said in a statement.

Officers also seized a number of calligraphy pens with ink and approximately 30 books by authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, T.S. Eliot and Robert Louis Stevenson.

The arrested man has been taken to Lyndhurst Police Station in Hampshire where he remains in custody pending further enquiries.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Patricia Reaney)

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