A PRICELESS Roman mosaic has been destroyed by thieves, who tore up three separate sections, including one measuring almost 2.5 square metres.

Art historians were left horrified after the fifth century villa was broken into by ‘barbarians’ in Baños de Valderados, near Burgos.

During the raid its centrepiece – depicting the Roman god Bacchus – was hacked up with a chisel, probably to order.

The irreparable damage, to what was one of the best preserved Roman mosaics in Europe, was discovered when two Catalan tourists visited the site.

Ironically the mayor of the nearby village had recently warned government officials that security would have to be stepped up.

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