Second man arrested on suspicion of stealing £4.8m gold toilet from Blenheim Palace

Eighteen-carat artwork is yet to be found

Chris Baynes
Tuesday 17 September 2019 18:01
Police on hunt for toilet thieves after after golden loo stolen from Blenheim Palace

A second man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing a £4.8m solid gold toilet from Blenheim Palace.

The 36-year-old from Cheltenham was taken into custody on Tuesday and questioned by Thames Valley Police about the theft of the 18-carat artwork, America, from the home of the Duke of Marlborough.

The fully functioning toilet, made by Italian sculptor Maurizio Cattelan, had been installed as part of an exhibition at the palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

It was taken during a burglary in the early hours of Saturday.

The theft from a wood-panelled room at the 18th-century estate, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, caused significant flood damage as the sculpture had been plumbed in for visitors to use.

A 66-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of burglary shortly after it was removed. He has been released on bail until 9 October.

The second man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle and later released under investigation.

Police said they believe a gang using at least two vehicles orchestrated the theft. The toilet has not yet been found.

Detective inspector Steven Jones said: “We are continuing to investigate this incident and have made a second arrest in connection with it. Our priority is to locate the stolen item, and I would urge anyone with any information to contact police by calling 101.”

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Initial reports said the toilet was estimated to be worth £1m, but Blenheim Palace chief executive Dominic Hare has since said the artwork was valued at $6m (£4.8m)

The theft came after the Duke of Marlborough’s brother, Lord Edward Spencer-Churchill, said there were no plans to guard the toilet during the exhibition.

“It’s not going to be the easiest thing to nick,” he told The Sunday Times last month.