The detective investigating the thefts of two historic gold items from Ely Museum has shared further details of what happened during the night of the break-in.  

Detective Inspector Kiri Mazur, from Cambridgeshire Police, was in Ely this morning (Friday) updating reporters on the status of her investigation.  

A gold torc and a gold bracelet dating back to the to the Bronze Age were stolen from a display case during the early hours of Tuesday morning (May 7).  

READ MORE: CCTV footage shows suspects involved in Ely Museum break-in

The break-in happened at around 1:20am when the two suspects forced their way through multiple layers of security to get to the pieces.  

DI Mazur said: “We believe the suspects visited the area at around midnight, before the break-in itself.

“They left the area and returned again at around 1:20am in the morning and accessed the building through a window by the museum’s staff car park.  

“The window was covered with a shutter that was bolted and padlocked and there were multiple locks on the window itself.  

“I believe a crowbar was used to break the window and the suspects gained entry.  

“The alarms were activated as soon as they entered the building, and a curator and the police were notified immediately.  

“But in that time, they were able to get directly to the display case – which was built with thick toughened glass – and smash their way into the case.  

“There was significant level of force and I believe they used a sledgehammer.

“From our CCTV analysis, this all happened in less than a minute from when they gained entry and the alarms were sounding the entire time.  

“But the suspects exited through the same window and had made off on e-scooters by the time police and curator arrived within 10 minutes.  

"Generally speaking, if someone is determined to break-in they will find a way, and I want to make clear the museum has more than appropriate security.

“But right now, I’m keeping an open mind with all lines of enquiry as the investigation continues."

Police have already released CCTV footage of the suspects entering the museum.  

READ MORE: Thieves steal Bronze Age artefacts during Ely Museum break-in

Both are wearing dark clothing and are looking down at the floor as they head straight to the case displaying the torc and bracelet.  

Ely Standard: The gold Bronze Age torc stolen from Ely Museum is understood to be the best of its kind found in England in the last century.The gold Bronze Age torc stolen from Ely Museum is understood to be the best of its kind found in England in the last century. (Image: The Trustees of The British Museum / Saul Peckham / Cambridgeshire Police)The items were originally found by metal detectorists in East Cambridgeshire.  

The torc is regarded as the best of its kind in England in more than a century because it is much larger than usual examples and is made of 730g of almost pure gold. 

After it was discovered, it was valued at £220,000 and in 2017 the money was raised through grants and community donations for Ely Museum to buy it.  

The solid gold bracelet is about 3,000 years old and was found in 2011.  

It is assumed the item is of great value and status due to the scarcity of gold as a natural resource during the Bronze Age.  

A gold ring was also on display in the same case – but this was left behind.  

Ely Standard: The gold Bronze Age bracelet stolen from Ely Museum was found in East Cambridgeshire by a metal detectorist in 2011.The gold Bronze Age bracelet stolen from Ely Museum was found in East Cambridgeshire by a metal detectorist in 2011. (Image: Cambridgeshire County Council / Cambridgeshire Police)Throughout Tuesday, forensics spent hours thoroughly examining the scene and DI Mazur says she is confident their analysis will assist her investigation.  

There has been criticism of the time it took officers to get to the incident, considering Ely police station is a two minute walk away.

But DI Mazur said it was still "a swift police response of less than 10 minutes" and explained the building functions as an operational base during the night. 

This means staff on shift there are busy answering calls coming in from across the region.

Meanwhile, on Friday morning, museum staff were preparing to reopen for the first time since the break-in.  

The scene has been cleaned up and is now safe for visitors.

A temporary sign has been placed in front of the bare display case explaining what happened.  

It says: “Sadly, two of these treasures were stolen from public display in the early hours of May 7, 2024.  

“The investigation is ongoing and we continue to support the police in the hope of their recovery and return.”

Still clearly devastated and shaken by what happened, curator Elie Hughes confirmed the items were insured but described them as “irreplaceable”.  

She said: “You obviously can’t just go out and buy pieces like these – their historical significance and uniqueness are priceless to East Cambridgeshire.

“The torc, for example, was part of a huge community campaign. When it was discovered, we talked to local people and larger organisations who all agreed it should remain in Ely.  

“We all worked so hard to get the torc and keep it here through community donations and grants, people were so generous at the time.

“Everyone who was involved in those efforts are also clearly devastated – and throughout the week we’ve received kind messages from people saying their thoughts are with us.  

“We protected these items with security measures that went beyond what experts advised us to get."

She added: "There is always hope they will come back to us.

“We’ve heard stories about items that have been recovered and it is possible – but we just don’t know at this stage.”

DI Mazur also reassured the community that crimes such as this “don’t happen very often” in Cambridgeshire.

She said: “Ely and the wider county are broadly safe places to live and work. I just want to reassure the community we do offer crime prevention advice at the force.

“Anyone can contact police to access this.”

Further details are on the Cambridgeshire Police website. 

Witnesses or anyone who has information related to the break-in at Ely Museum can contact police through their web chat service quoting Operation Lacunar or 101.