POLICE say they discovered what appeared to be a workshop and equipment for making statues when they raided a Bromley Cross home as part of an investigation into a fake £1 million Egyptian statue.

Officers who took part in the operation have revealed the house contained items of marble and ancillary equipment.

They carried out the raid earlier this month after town hall bosses discovered that the recently purchased Amarna Princess statue was a fake.

An 83-year-old man and his 46-year-old son were later arrested and released on police bail.

Acting Chief Inspector Martin Freschini said: "There were items of marble and ancillary equipment for making statues and the like.

"We seized a number of items and a quantity of cash."

Bolton Council made headlines around the world when it bought the Amarna Princess for £440,000 in 2003, claiming its actual worth was nearer £1 million.

The 20-inch statue was thought to date back to 1350 BC and depicts one of the daughters of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and his Queen Nefertiti, who was the mother of the legendary boy king Tutankhamun.

The person who sold the statue to Bolton Council has always remained anonymous. It was said at the time that the item came into his family when it was bought by a relative at a sale of items belonging to the Earl of Egremont in 1892.

He was said to have sold it to Bolton Museum because he wanted it to remain in the town.

It has now been taken away by by the Metropolitan Police Art and Antiques unit Suspicions over the authenticity of the Amarna Princess are believed to have been first raised two weeks ago when the British Museum reported the arrival of a suspicious Syrian sculpture.

A private client had asked curators to inspect the item and observed that it had come from a similar source to the Amarna Princess.

Police seized the sculpture in London and impounded the Amarna Princess.