December 12 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
A SERIES of raids were being carried out this morning (Tuesday) in Cambridgeshire, other parts of England and Northern Ireland in connection with a number of high-value raids on museum and auction houses.
Hundreds of officers from 26 police forces and the Serious Organised Crime Agency are involved in the operation.
Searches were planned at addresses in Cambridgeshire, London, Sussex, West Midlands, Essex and Northern Ireland with police saying that a number of arrests were likely to be made.
Cambridgeshire police said the action was in connection with six crimes which took place over a four-month period last year at museums and auction houses across England. Chinese artefacts and rhinoceros horn were stolen in six incidents – three at Durham Museum, one at Gorringes Auction House in East Sussex and one each at Norwich Castle Museum and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
While much of the property was subsequently recovered, several high-value items are still missing.
So far, eight people have been convicted and jailed for a total of more than 40 years for their roles in the break-ins.
ACPO lead for serious organised crime, Chief Constable Mick Creedon said: “The series of burglaries last year had a profound effect on museums and similar institutions and we are committed to bringing all those who were involved in the conspiracy to justice.
“Many of the stolen Chinese artefacts are still outstanding and a substantial reward remains on offer for information which leads to the safe return of those priceless items.”