A court in Poland has refused to drop the case against two British teenagers caught in June taking objects from the site of the Nazi Auschwitz death camp and has referred it to a lower court.

Initially, the teenagers from Hertfordshire, in southern England, pleaded guilty to charges of stealing items from the historic site while on a school trip. But later their lawyers argued that the case should be tossed out, because the teenagers were not aware that the objects they took from the site of the former camp's warehouses had special historic value.

A court in the southern city of Krakow admitted the items were of no special historic value, but ordered a court in Oswiecim, where the former camp is located, to weigh charges of simple theft.