THE controversial Am-arna Princess statue could be back on display in Bolton Museum by the end of the year.

Town Hall bosses want to borrow the fake made by Bolton forger Shaun Greenhalgh from the Metropolitan Police, who are currently holding it in secure storage.

The 20-inch statuette — originally though to be worth £1 million — was revealed as a worthless fake in 2006.

But Bolton Council chiefs, who bought it for £440,000 in 2003, believe it could be a big draw for tourists and want to exhibit it as part of the museum’s Egyptology exhibition. A spokesman said: “The Amarna statue remains the property of the Metropolitan Police, as ordered by the judge, and therefore could never be housed at Bolton Museum permanently. However, we are currently looking into the possibility of the statue being temporarily returned to be put on special display.

“The Egyptology collection at Bolton Museum is the most significant of any local authority and we are extremely proud of it.

“Historically, the collection was built up through its fantastic links to Egypt as a result of the cotton industry, but the only way we can add to it now is by purchasing items, such as the Amarna Princess.

“It will be interesting for members of the public to learn about the process of buying the statue and the collection as a whole. If negotiations with the police are successful, we hope the display will attract visitors to the museum and to Bolton in general.”

The Amarna Princess was created by Shaun Greenhalgh in the garden shed of the home he shared with his parents in The Crescent, Bromley Cross. It was offered for sale to the Museum of Bolton by his father, George Greenhalgh, in 2002.

The following year, in September, the museum paid £440,000 for the 20-inch statue, which had been valued at closer to £1 million.

But it was revealed as a fake when police were called in to examine three pieces offered to British Museum and to Bonham’s auction house in London by George Greenhalgh.

He and his wife, Olive, were subsequently given suspended sentences for their part in the fraud.

Shaun Greenhalgh admitted laundering more than £400,000 in cash from the fake and was jailed for more than four years.