Arrests in Greek antiquities smuggling ring

Dark rain clouds over the Parthenon in Athens (13 March 2006)
Image caption Greece's rich history means it is a target for illegal antiquity traders

Greek police investigating antiquities smuggling have arrested 35 people and recovered thousands of ancient coins and other artefacts.

One of the suspects was found with more than 4,000 coins in his possession.

Metal detectors were also found during the raids, which took place in northern and central Greece.

The country's archaeological heritage means it has long been a target for illegal traders. Last month dozens of artefacts were stolen from a museum.

Two masked men took more than 60 objects after overpowering a female guard at the site, dedicated to the history of the ancient Olympic Games in Olympia.

Those items, mostly bronze and clay statuettes, were of "incalculable" value, according to the town's mayor.

Police are expected to release more details of Saturday's operation on Sunday or Monday.

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