British schoolboys caught stealing items from Auschwitz fined £400

Nick Reilly
Ben Thompson (left) and Marcus Dell (right) have been ordered to pay the fine (Picture: CEN)

Two British schoolboys who were caught stealing buttons and pieces of metal and glass from Auschwitz have been fined £400.

Marcus Dell and Ben Thompson, who are both from Hertfordshire, were ordered to pay the fine, along with a further £1,250 each to be donated to the Memorial Foundation for the victims of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The pair, who were 17 at the time of the offence, were caught stealing the items from the Nazi death camp during a visit with the prestigious Perse School in 2015.

Delivering the verdict at a court in Krakow, Judge Wojciech Kolanko said: ‘We are dealing with monumental remains, namely the camp items.

The boys took these items, including a button, from the camp (Picture: CEN)
Auschwitz Birkenau is the most infamous of all the Nazi death camps (Picture: CEN)

‘Each year these items emerge from the earth. These items are collected twice a year, catalogued and placed in a display case.

‘The same things in the cabinet were also around in the earth, because they had not yet managed to find their place in it, for practical and financial reasons.’

The pair initially faced the charge of stealing goods of special importance to the well-being of culture, an offence which carries a ten-year jail term.

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But after the items were deemed to have no cultural significance by several experts, the charge was lessened to damaging a site of historical importance.

At the start of the hearing in 2016, the boys had initially claimed that they had picked up the items in order to ask their guide about them, but were stopped by security before they had the chance.