A MASTER forger who conned the art world for nearly 20 years is considering an appeal against his sentence, lawyers have revealed.

Shaun Greenhalgh, aged 47, was jailed for four years and eight months last Friday for making a string of fake masterpieces in his garden shed.

The talented painter and sculpture copied works of LS Lowry, Paul Gaugin, Barbara Hepworth and Bolton-born Thomas Moran - and even made convincing Roman and Egyptian artefacts which he passed off as real over 17 years.

Among his victims was Bolton Museum which paid £440,000 for an Egyptian statue which experts believed dated from 1350BC.

In fact, Greenhalgh had carved it in three weeks in the shed at his family's home in The Crescent, Bromley Cross.

He appeared in court alongside his wheelchair-bound father, 84-year-old George Greenhalgh, who acted as salesman for the forgeries and his mother, Olive, aged 83, who made phone calls to arrange meetings with auction houses and museums.

Mrs Greenhalgh was given a suspended sentence and her husband's case was adjourned while medical reports are prepared.

All had admitted defrauding art institutions between 1989 and 2006 and conspiracy to conceal and transfer £410,392.

Anthony Shimmin, who is representing the family on behalf of Garstang's Solicitors, said: "The sentence of Shaun Greenhalgh is something which his counsel are considering and we are waiting to hear back from them.

"An appeal is something which is presently being considered although the sentence was within guideline parameters."

Bolton Crown Court heard last Friday how Greenhalgh had left school at 16 with no qualifications but quickly discovered he had a talent for copying the work of other artists.

Working in the shed, he created a string of fake artworks which were sold to private collectors through auction houses and to museums and galleries.

They included a Roman silver tray which was bought for £50,000, paintings by renowned artists and sculptures which were feared to have been lost.

Each piece was accompanied by "provenance" researched in painstaking detail, often claiming that the fakes were family heirlooms. The family's most elaborate and audacious con was to sell the 20-inch Amarna Princess statue to Bolton Museum in 2003.

Experts, auction house Christie's and the British Museum believed it to be genuine and Bolton Council hailed the purchase, funded mainly by grants, as a coup.

It was removed from display in 2006 when the Metropolitan Police launched an investigation into three pieces of stone with raised "reliefs" which were offered to the British Museum by George Greenhalgh in October, 2005.

Although they were initially believed to be genuine and worth as much as £250,000, experts at the museum and Bonham's auctioneers realised they were fakes and phoned police.

The police Art and Antiques Unit then began to unravel what they have described as "the most sustained and diverse" forgery case they have ever investigated.

A "fakes factory" was discovered at the family's three-bedroom council house.

Two Halifax accounts in the name of Shaun Greenhalgh, one containing £55,173 and the other £303,646, have been frozen by police and a hearing to decide whether his assets will be confiscated will be held at Bolton Crown Court on January 25 next year.

The application to recover the cash has been made by the Metropolitan Police..

Mrs Greenhalgh said the family did not want to comment on the case.