Three men who hid a £5m antiques haul taken from three country homes will be sentenced in a month’s time after the last of the gang admitted his guilt.
The haul was recovered in its entirety.
Carl Rutter of Wakefield, West Yorkshire,
appeared in court last week and was described by officers as "a
The 46-year-old had overall possession of a
number of the stolen items - now returned - which had been stored
on his behalf with a view to being sold later.
He pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court on
June 3 after being charged with conspiring to handle antiques
stolen from Newby Hall and Sion Hill in North Yorkshire, as well as
Firle Place in Sussex, and will be sentenced alongside Darren
Webster, 45, of Leeds, West Yorkshire, and 69-year-old Brian Eaton,
of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, who appeared in court in August last
year charged with the same offence.
Both pleaded guilty but had been awaiting
sentence subject to the outcome of Rutter's appearance.
Eaton and Webster had possession of a large
number of the antiques, some stored at Eaton's home address.
Webster was described by officers as the "lead conspirator",
whereas Eaton was responsible for introducing prospective buyers of
the antiques to Webster and Rutter.
The 14 items stolen in 2007-2009 included a
George III Pembroke Chippendale drop-leaf table valued for
insurance purposes at £500,000, which was made specifically for
Newby Hall in 1775; a pair of Louis XVI bleu nouveau ground vases
and bases with Chinese cartouches on ormolu bases with double hoof
feet, known as 'The Firle Vases' (£950,000); a Sèvres blue and rose
marbled ground vase Hollandois nouveau - two pieces (£180,000); and
a Meissen group of the Indiscreet
Harlequin modelled by J.J. Kändler (£180,000).
An ebony-veneered bracket clock by Daniel
Delander of London c.1710 was taken from Sion Hill.
They were recovered by officers from the
Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) on
September 22, 2011 after a year-long investigation carried out by
the ROCU who received significant support from various other police
A 58-year-old man from Wakefield was
convicted of stealing the items in April 2011 and jailed for nine
years, but refused to say where they were.
They were later recovered from Eaton's home address and
Webster's address in Leeds.