Police made 20 arrests after a series of dawn raids linked to the investigation into the theft of Chinese artefacts and a rhino horn last year.
The raids, which took place on
September 10, were connected to six burglaries over a four-month
period - three at Durham University's Oriental museum, one at
Gorringes saleroom in East Sussex and one each at the Norwich
Castle and Fitzwilliam Museums, the latter in Cambridge.
Eight people have already been
convicted and jailed for their roles in the break-ins.
The latest raids, which took place in
London, Essex, Sussex, Cambridgeshire, West Midlands and Northern
Ireland, involved 26 police forces and the Serious Organised Crime
Nineteen people were being held on
suspicion of conspiracy to commit burglary, while a 54-year-old
woman was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice
and assisting an offender. All of those people have now been
released on bail.
Chief Constable Mick Creedon, the
Association of Chief Police Officers' lead for serious organised
crime, was reported by the BBC as saying: "Many of the stolen
Chinese artefacts are still outstanding and a substantial reward
remains on offer for information which leads to the safe return of
those precious items."
The 18 Fitzwilliam items stolen were mostly
Ming and Qing dynasty jades and had been part of the museum's
permanent collection for over 50 years. A PDF of these items
appears in ATG's report
of the theft.
Police recovered the objects stolen
from Durham's Oriental Museum shortly after the burglary. An 18th
century jade bowl and a porcelain figure were found in a field in
the Brandon area, a few miles to the south-west of the