An employee at Buckingham Palace has confessed that he stole several valuable items from the British royal family and sold them on the e-commerce site eBay.

Adamo Canto, a catering assistant at Buckingham Palace, has pleaded guilty to three counts of theft between 11 November last year and 7 August 2020 at Westminster Magistrates' Court. The 37-year-old native of Scarborough, North Yorkshire, said he stole a "significant quantity" of items from the palace in London, which is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II.

The most expensive item Canto stole from the palace was a royal state banquet photo album of US President Donald Trump's visit to the UK, worth £1,500. He also stole an official signed photograph of Prince William, Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry, reports Hello! magazine.

The stolen items also include a Companion of Bath medal belonging to Vice Admiral Master Tony Johnstone-Burt, the Master of the Household, which Canto sold on eBay for £350. He also lifted the 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 British monarch in 2010.

As per his confession, he stole a total of 77 items from the palace shop, staff lockers, the linen room, the Royal Collection ticket office, the Queen's Gallery shop, and the Duke of York Prince Andrew's storeroom. The items were all priced between £10,000 and £100,000. Canto listed some of them for sale on eBay, advertising them as priced "well under" their true value. He made a total of £7,741 from the sale of 37 items.

His theft came to light after Master of the Household Vice Admiral Johnstone-Burt noticed his medal was missing when he needed to wear it for the Queen's birthday celebration, Trooping the Colour, in June this year. The staff then told him that the stolen palace goods were being sold online.

In his statement in court, the Vice Admiral 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."

Several stolen items were recovered from Canto's quarters at the palace's Royal Mews, where he has been staying since he was hired in 2015. He carried out most of the stealing during the coronavirus lockdown when he was given a cleaning role and gained access to areas he wasn't previously allowed in.

District Judge Alexander Jacobs released Canto on conditional bail on Monday, but warned him that he faces a possible jail sentence. The case has been sent to Southwark Crown Court for sentencing at a later date.

Police and soldiers at Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace