CHINESE hardstone carvings worth millions have been stolen from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
A number of individuals are thought to have
been involved in the break-in at the museum in Trumpington Street
at approximately 7.30pm on Friday, April 13.
Police, alerted by the museum's alarm
system, have carried out forensic examinations following the
burglary and CCTV footage is being examined.
The 18 items stolen are mostly Ming and Qing
dynasty jades and had been part of the museum's permanent
collection for over 50 years.
Asian art specialist John Axford of
Salisbury auctioneers Woolley & Wallis, who had recently
inspected the items during a visit to the Fitzwilliam, told ATG
that values ranged from around £100,000 to about £3m for several
individual pieces that had been stolen.
Police patrols have been stepped up in the
area of the museum since the burglary while a Fitzwilliam spokesman
said a thorough review of security measures was also under way.
Det Ch Supt Karen Daber, who is leading the
investigation, called Operation Tundra, said: "The items stolen are
very valuable and are of great cultural significance. We are
following up a number of inquiries but we also need the help of the
"Anyone with information should contact
police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.
Information can also be reported by email at
DCS Daber has ruled out the possibility of
an 'inside job' but would not be drawn on speculation that the
robbery may be linked to a similar theft which took place earlier
this month at Durham University, although she said officers were
liaising with Durham police.
In a well-planned operation, thieves
chiselled into the university's Oriental Museum through an outside
wall on April 5 before stealing a Qianlong jade bowl and a Qianlong
porcelain figure group with an estimated combined value of
The damage and subsequent investigation
forced the museum to shut for many days.
The Fitzwilliam will take some heart in the
knowledge that those two objects have since been recovered by
police and five people arrested in the West Midlands in connection
with the theft. All were bailed pending further inquiries.
items stolen from the Fitzwilliam Museum