Three held over theft of artefacts


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The Independent Online

Two Chinese artefacts stolen in a break-in at a university museum are estimated to be worth £2 million, according to police.

Three people have been arrested in connection with the raid on the Oriental Museum at Durham University on Thursday night.

Durham Police said there was a break-in at a ground floor gallery in the building at about 10.40pm.

A jade bowl and a porcelain statue were stolen.

They are understood to be Qing Dynasty Chinese pieces which were in the museum's Malcolm MacDonald Gallery.

Detectives last night said two men and a woman had been arrested in the West Midlands in connection with the burglary and have been taken to a Durham police station for questioning.

However, the two artefacts have not been recovered.

Det Ch Insp Traci McNally said: "We are still trying to locate several outstanding suspects in relation to this investigation.

"We believe those individuals would be aware of the police investigation and would urge them to contact Durham Police on 101 without delay."

The incident has forced the museum to close over Easter.

A message has been posted on the museum website saying: "Due to unforeseen circumstances the Oriental Museum has been forced to close over the Easter weekend. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. We will reopen as soon as possible."