Two arrested over Cambridge's Fitzwilliam Museum Chinese art theft


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Detectives have arrested two people in connection with the theft of a hoard of Chinese art from a Cambridge museum.

The 18 jade items from the Ming and Qing dynasties were stolen in a raid on the Fitzwilliam Museum last month. Some estimates have placed their value at £18 million.

In a statement Cambridgeshire Police said: "Officers from Cambridgeshire, along with officers from the Metropolitan Police, carried out two warrants at addresses in London.

"Both men are currently on their way to Cambridgeshire."

The arrests follow an appeal on the BBC's Crimewatch programme last night.

Referring to the Crimewatch appearance, Det Chief Insp Jim McCrorie said the force had received "more than 10 calls" following the show.

He added: "There was a significant response to the appeal but it is going to take time to work through inquiries.

"We are still keen to hear from anyone who has information about the burglary or the four men we are keen to trace in connection to the theft."

The burglary happened at around 7.30pm on April 13.

Police are keen to trace a white VW caddy van believed to have been used by the offenders.

It is believed the van was stolen at 8.30am on April 7 from Ellesmere Street in the Tower Hamlets area of London.

The force has refused to comment on whether it believes the items were stolen to order but there is a lucrative market for jade among Chinese investors.

Officers alerted ports and airports shortly after the thefts in case the suspects attempted to export the artefacts.

Detectives have acknowledged the location of the items were central to their investigations.

Staff at the Fitzwilliam Museum have not placed a financial value on the items but have said they are of "huge cultural significance".