Caretaker sacked for giving away stately homes costly £5million royal artefact

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A caretaker watching over a stately home was sacked after he gave away a royal artefact worth millions of pounds.

Brian Wilson, the caretaker who was fired from his position at the Grade II listed Seighford Hall in Staffordshire, had allowed car salesman Andrew Potter to walk off with the 460-year-old Tudor antique.

Potter walked away from the 16th century mansion with a nine feet wide oak overmantel, an ornamental structure that rests above the mantelpiece, that auctioneers have priced at a staggering £5million.

When Potter attempted to sell the artefact, which bears the royal coat of arms from Queen Elizabeth I, the local council took out an injunction to stop him, although it was later dropped.

Despite the council rescinding the injunction, Potter has failed to find a buyer, looking as far as the Middle East for a potential sale, a local auction house has claimed.

At an employment tribunal, where Wilson claimed unfair dismissal, the caretaker told how the historic item was "rotten" and had been set aside to be burned.

He claimed that giving the item away would have saved him time disposing of it from the derelict building, which had been used as a nursing home for many years.

Managing director Thomas Butler had Wilson sacked over the incident for gross misconduct.

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But an employment tribunal awarded Wilson £4,065.82 in unlawful deduction from wages and untaken holiday pay, but ruled he was not entitled to any more compensation despite being unfairly dismissed.

Employment Judge Kate Hindmarch ruled he was unfairly dismissed, saying: "I have found [Mr Wilson's] actions were without permission and that he was not credible in his explanations.

"His behaviour was blameworthy, and I find the basic award should be nil."

Stafford Borough Council took legal action against Potter, claiming there had been no listed building consent to grant the removal of the mantel, but the case was dropped in December last year, Daily Mail reports.

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