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Buckingham Palace employee pleads guilty to theft including signed photo of Prince William and Kate

He stole a "significant quantity" of items from the Queen's London home

Ainhoa Barcelona

A Buckingham Palace catering assistant has pleaded guilty to three counts of theft between 11 November last year and 7 August 2020 at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

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Adamo Canto, 37, from Scarborough, North Yorkshire stole a "significant quantity" of items from the Queen's London residence, including an official signed photograph of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the Duke of Sussex.

The most expensive item Mr Canto stole was a royal state banquet photo album of US President Donald Trump's visit to the UK, worth £1,500.

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He also admitted to stealing a Companion of Bath medal belonging to Vice Admiral Master Tony Johnstone-Burt, the Master of the Household, which was sold for £350 on eBay, as well as a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order medal from the locker of former British Army officer Major General Richard Sykes, which was given to him by the Queen in 2010.

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Some 77 items were lifted from the palace shop, while others were stolen from staff lockers, the linen room, the Royal Collection ticket office, the Queen's Gallery shop and the Duke of York's storeroom, the court heard.

adamo-canto

Adamo Canto pleaded guilty to three counts of theft

Prosecutor Simon Maughan said some of the goods, worth between £10,000 and £100,000, were listed for sale on eBay. Mr Canto made £7,741 from the sale of 37 items, which were advertised on the shopping site for "well under" their true value.

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Master of the Household Vice Admiral Johnstone-Burt only noticed his medal was missing when he was required to wear it for the Queen's birthday celebration, Trooping the Colour; he was later told by staff that stolen palace goods were being sold online.

His statement read in court noted: "I discovered my Companion of Bath medal and box for sale. It was up for sale for £500. However, it had been sold for £350."

buckinham-palace

Mr Canto stole goods from the palace worth between £10,000 and £100,000

Mr Canto had worked as a catering assistant at Buckingham Palace since 2015. He lived at the palace's Royal Mews, where police searched and recovered the stolen items from his quarters.

Mr Canto had taken advantage of the coronavirus lockdown to carry out his thefts, as he was given COVID cleaning roles, allowing him access to areas within the palace he would not normally have had.

District Judge Alexander Jacobs released Mr Canto on conditional bail on Monday and sent the case to Southwark Crown Court for sentencing at a later date, warning the defendant he faces a possible jail sentence.

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