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Around 140 objects were discovered during the afternoon of Saturday, March 25, in an underground storage room on wasteland close to the Wyevale Garden Centre off the Warwick Road, Black Hill. They are being held for forensic examination to be returned to the owner, property developer Harry Hyams, as soon they can be released from the enquiry.

"This find of antiques represents a significant recovery and a large amount of the items stolen from Ramsbury Manor," said Detective Inspector Simon Watson of Kennet CID, who is leading the investigation. "I would estimate that we have 140 of the stolen items in our possession, which represents approximately 40 per cent of the total haul. Sadly, about 30 of the items have been damaged." Among the items now in police possession are a massive Vincennes white chinoiserie group, c.1745, and a pair of Bow busts of Mongolians, c.1750.

Given the ongoing investigation, police were not prepared to disclose how the whereabouts of the recovered items came to light. They also repeated appeals for further information (Wiltshire Police can be contacted on 0845 408 7000) while issuing a new list and images of stolen items.

Mr Hyams, owner of Ramsbury Manor, who has spent some 50 years collecting, issued a statement expressing his delight at the development and praised Wiltshire Police and their colleagues in Stratford for their work: "I am confident that the police will continue their thorough investigations, which will lead to the successful recovery of more items, ultimately resulting in the successful prosecution of those responsible for the burglary and associated offences."