THE memoirs of a man who fooled the art world have become a best seller.

Bolton master forger Shaun Greenhalgh emulated the work of some of history’s most revered artists and sculptors from the home of his elderly parents in Bromley Cross, while they fronted the sales operation.

Written during his four and half years in prison, A Forger’s Tale: Confessions of a Bolton Forger details the 56-year-old’s notorious career and the extraordinary circumstances that led to it.

It has now been released by publishers Allen & Unwin UK and has rushed to the top of Amazon’s best sellers list.

Clare Drysdale, Mr Greenhalgh’s editor at the publishers said: “It’s really exciting to find that British readers are as fascinated by Shaun’s story as I am, and I hope the success of A Forger’s Tale starts some interesting conversations about provenance: as Shaun says, put something on your wall because you like it, rather than because you want to show off the signature in the corner.

“Shaun Greenhalgh is one of the most astonishing people I’ve ever met. An extremely gentle, shy and modest man, his downfall has been his profound and completely self-taught slavish devotion to art.

“The breadth of his talent – encompassing ancient relics, Anglo Saxon artefacts, Da Vinci sketches, LS Lowry paintings and Barbara Hepworth sculptures amongst others – makes me think that in an earlier age, he would have been revered as a master craftsman.”

In 2003, Mr Greenhalgh's late father George convinced Bolton Museum that his son's alabaster copy of the Amarna Princess, depicting a relation of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun, was 3,000 years old and worth £440,000.

However the operation was uncovered in 2005, when a minor error in a supposedly ancient Assyrian tablet was spotted by the British Museum.

In 2007, Bolton Crown Court sentenced Shaun Greenhalgh to four years and eight months in prison for the crime of producing artistic forgeries.

Through the autobiography, which features a foreword by British art critic Waldemar Januszczak, Mr Greenhalgh claims that some of his work slipped through the police net and continue to fool auction houses.

It details his life growing up in Bolton, learning his art and details of his known and unknown work.

A Forger’s Tale: Confessions of the Bolton Forger was published this June and costs £16.