Nationwide operation follows a spate of crimes which took place at museums
and auction houses across England
over a four-month period last year
people have been arrested across the UK in connection with raids on
museums and auction houses where artefacts worth millions of pounds were
men and two women are currently in custody for questioning following dawn
raids; the operation following a spate of crimes which took place at museums
and auction houses across England
over a four-month period last year.
artefacts and a 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.
of officers from 26 police forces and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca)
are involved in the operation with searches continuing at various locations and
warrants executed in London, Sussex, the West Midlands, Cambridgeshire, Essex
and Northern Ireland.
men, aged 20, 31, 35, 53 and 54, and two women, aged 28 and 54, were arrested
in London while
four men, aged 24, 41, 44 and 56, were arrested in Cambridgeshire.
men, aged 28 and 46, were arrested in Essex.
60-year-old man was arrested in Sussex,
a 32-year-old man was arrested in the West Midlands and a 67-year-old man was
arrested in Nottingham.
men have been arrested in Northern
Police, who are leading the operation, said those arrested were being held on
suspicion of conspiracy to burgle except the 54-year-old woman, who was
arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and assisting an offender.
far, eight people have been convicted and jailed for their roles in the
of the stolen property has since been recovered but several valuable items are
Constable Mick Creedon, the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) lead
for serious organised crime, said: "Today's operation follows a long and
complex pan-European investigation involving officers from 26 police forces and
the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
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.
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
has set up a working group to crack down on the emerging issue of heritage
crime, bringing together police officers, English Heritage and other partners
in the arts and museum sector to share intelligence and crime prevention
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