Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Stolen Art Watch, Bulmer Art Heist, Police Pursue End Game & Art Crime Round Up March 2017



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Cops hunt thieves who stole £2.5million worth of art from Bulmers cider tycoon’s mansion while he was on luxury Barbados holiday

Gang fled with art, jewels and silverware of sentimental value to Esmond & Susan Bulmer in horror burglary eight years ago
COPS have issued a renewed appeal for information on thieves who stole art worth £2.5million from the home of an ex-Tory MP and cider tycoon eight years ago.
Esmond Bulmer, 81, of the Bulmers cider dynasty, and his wife Susan, 75, were on holiday together in Barbados when the raiders broke into their decadent mansion and made away with the luxury goods.

Cops hunt thieves who stole £2.5m in art after raiding Bulmers cider tycoon

Fresh pleas … cops are calling for witnesses to come forward and help Esmond Bulmer, 81, and his wife Susan, 75, find artwork taken from them eight years ago
South West News Service
Cops have arrested 11 men in connection with the burglary at The Pavilion, but are yet to recover the majority of stolen goods
They are alleged to have threatened to pour bleach over house-sitter Deborah Branjum, and tied her to a stair banister before fleeing the property with the priceless haul.
Some of the gang are believed to have fled with the paintings, while others loaded the boot of the Bulmers’ Mercedes with a safe with £1million worth of jewellery inside.

Cops hunt thieves who stole £2.5m in art after raiding Bulmers cider tycoon
South West News Service
Italian landscape by Pieter Bruegel … just one of the 15 paintings taken in the raid has been recovered by cops
Cops hunt thieves who stole £2.5m in art after raiding Bulmers cider tycoon
South West News Service
Edward Poynter masterpiece … Esmond Bulmer and his wife Susan were on holiday in Barbados when thieves broke into their sprawling mansion
Up to 15 well-known artworks, along with jewels and silverware were stolen in the March 2009 raid.
The shocked house sitter was found at their house, The Pavilion near Bruton, Somerset, 18 hours after the break-in.
Cops have arrested 11 men in connection with the aggravated burglary.
All remain on bail pending further investigation.
The latest arrest was a 42-year-old man from Small Heath, Birmingham.
The unnamed man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud, and conspiracy to handle criminal property.

South West News Service
Back with rightful owners … George Frederick Watts’s Endymion was recovered by private investigators
South West News Service
Still missing … Sir George Clausen’s Apple Blossom was among paintings stolen
South West News Service
Richard Buckner masterpiece … thieves broke into Esmond and Susan Bulmer’s mansion eight years ago
South West News Service
Thieves managed to get away with art worth £2.5million after allegedly threatening to pour bleach over a house sitter
Officials have previously arrested suspects in Gloucestershire, West Midlands, London and the South East in connection with the heist.
Renewing their appeal for witnesses eight years on, Avon and Somerset Constabulary said all but one of the 15 paintings taken have been recovered by private investigators.
The outstanding painting is Sir John Lavery’s “After Glow Taplow.”
The jewellery and silverware taken in the heist have great sentimental value to the Bulmer family.

South West News Service
Sentimental value … the gang fled the scene with a number of jewels and silverware which are of great personal importance to the Bulmer family
South West News Service
The gang got lucky with a safe that contained around £1million in jewellery
Mr Bulmer is thought to have made £84million when he and his family sold their stake in the family’s Hereford-based Bulmers cider-making business.
Upon getting one piece of art back in 2015, Mr Bulmer, who was MP for Kidderminster between 1974 and 1983, said he was “thrilled”.
Police are appealing for jewellers and antique and second-hand shop owners who may have been offered the items to come forward.
Anyone able to help should call the Operation Shine investigative team via 101, quoting reference Op Shine 3559609.

South West News Service
Woman sitting at a window by Paul Maze … up to 15 well-known artworks were stolen in the raid
South West News Service
Police have renewed their appeal for witnesses eight years on from the burglary, in a desperate bid to return the goods to the distraught family
South West News Service
One down, 14 to go … upon getting one of the 15 pieces stolen back two years ago, Mr Bulmer said he was ‘thrilled’

Stolen Van Goghs back on display after years in criminal underworld

They spent years under wraps and out of sight in a criminal's safe - but two Van Gogh paintings are now back on show in the Dutch museum they were stolen from in 2002.
The canvases, Sea View at Scheveningen and Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church at Nuenen, date from Van Gogh's early period and are described as priceless.
However, Dutch culture minister Jet Bussemaker said their real value would be in the eyes of those who can now see them again.
Thieves seized the canvases from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam - which contains the world's largest collection of Van Gogh works with more than 200 paintings and 500 drawings - after breaking in through the roof.
One of the men convicted over the theft, Octave Durham, has revealed that he was actually after the artist's better known works, but they were harder to steal.
He told a documentary to be aired later that he found it "trivially easy" to break in to the museum.
"The heist took about three minutes and 40 seconds," Durham says in the film, the New York Times reported. "When I was done, the police were there, and I was passing by with my getaway car. Took my ski mask off, window down, and I was looking at them."
He said he and his accomplice had wanted to steal Sunflowers but the artwork was too well guarded, Trouw newspaper reported. They then turned their attention to The Potato Eaters, considered the painter's first masterpiece, but decided it was too big to fit through the hole they had entered through.
Durham told the filmmakers he had selected the seascape because the thick paint convinced him it would be valuable. He was arrested a year later in the Spanish resort of Marbella and convicted in 2005, but had until now maintained he was innocent.
The theft was a case of "art-napping" by an opportunist burglar, art investigator Arthur Brand told the BBC.

"No art collector will pay for stolen art they can't display," he said. But stolen art could be used as leverage by criminals who offer its return in exchange for reduced sentences for their crimes.
Dutch criminal Cor van Hout - who became notorious for kidnapping the beer tycoon Freddy Heineken for an estimated $10m (£8m) ransom in 1983 - wanted to buy them but he was gunned down in a gangland hit before the deal could be done.
Another potential buyer met the same fate and the paintings were eventually sold to Raffaele Imperiale, a low-ranking mafioso who was at the time running an Amsterdam coffee shop.
Imperiale paid about €350,000 ($380,000; £305,000) for the paintings and his lawyers told the New York Times he had bought them because he was "fond of art" and they were a "bargain".
Imperiale was among several suspected dealers arrested by Italian police last January. Another suspected dealer arrested at the same time reportedly told investigators the paintings were at Imperiale's house.
The BBC's James Reynolds in Rome says mafia members are not known for their understated good taste and raids have often revealed a preference for ostentatious, kitsch decoration, so Imperiale was unlikely to have bought the paintings for display purposes.

They were found wrapped in cloth in a safe in a house in the picturesque seaside town of Castellammare di Stabia, near Pompeii, last September.
Van Gogh Museum Director Axel Ruger said it was wonderful to have the works back on display.
"I think it's one of the most joyous days in my career really," he said.
The museum has not made any comment on the upcoming documentary, Trouw said.

Why are the paintings significant?

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) is widely considered the greatest Dutch artist after Rembrandt.
Seascape at Scheveningen was one of only two seascapes he painted while he lived in the Netherlands.

It shows a foaming, stormy sea and thundery sky, and was painted in 1882 while he was staying in The Hague.
Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church at Nuenen (1884) was painted for Van Gogh's mother, but also partly for his father, who had become a pastor at the church in 1882. When his father died in 1884, Van Gogh added churchgoers, including a few women wearing shawls used for mourning.
Van Gogh committed suicide in France in 1890.

Recovering stolen masterpieces

The 2002 Van Gogh museum raid was one of a series of thefts that shocked the art world.

In 2004, two Edvard Munch masterpieces, The Scream and Madonna, were seized by armed men who raided the Munch museum in Oslo. Several men were jailed and the paintings later recovered after painstaking detective work in 2006.
Another version of The Scream was stolen from the National Art Museum in Oslo in 1994 and that too was later recovered in a sting operation by UK detectives.
In 2012, seven artworks were stolen from Rotterdam's Kunsthal museum, including paintings by Picasso, Monet and Matisse. Two thieves were later jailed, telling a Bucharest court that security at the museum had been lax. Some of the paintings were destroyed in an oven.
Earlier this year, four paintings out of a haul of 24 stolen from a Dutch gallery in 2005 were recovered in Ukraine.

As Stolen Van Goghs Return to View, a Thief Tells All

“View of the Sea at Scheveningen,” a van Gogh seascape stolen in 2002. Credit Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (State of the Netherlands, bequest of A.E. Ribbius Peletier)

AMSTERDAM — “Some people are born teachers. Some people are born footballers. I’m a born burglar.” So says Octave Durham, who stole two priceless Vincent van Gogh paintings on the evening of Dec. 7, 2002.
More than 14 years after he and an accomplice clambered onto the roof of the Van Gogh Museum here, broke a window with a sledgehammer and lifted the canvases off the wall, Mr. Durham has finally come clean about his involvement in one of the most infamous postwar art heists.
He did so in a 45-minute documentary that will show on Dutch television on Tuesday, the same day the museum plans to return the two canvases — recovered in September from the home of an Italian mobster’s mother — to public view.
The confession has no legal impact for Mr. Durham, who was convicted in 2004 and served just over 25 months in prison, but it sheds light on the paintings’ tortuous journey and ultimate rescue, and on the intersection of art theft and organized crime.
“The heist took about 3 minutes and 40 seconds,” Mr. Durham says in the documentary. “When I was done, the police were there, and I was passing by with my getaway car. Took my ski mask off, window down, and I was looking at them.”
He adds: “I could hear them on my police scanner. They didn’t know it was me.”
Mr. Durham, in details that he shares for the first time, after years of claiming innocence, brags of doing “bank jobs, safety deposit and more spectacular jobs than this.” He says he targeted the museum not because of any interest in art but simply because he could. “That’s the eye of a burglar,” he boasts.
The works are of inestimable value because they have never been to market: View of the Sea at Scheveningen” (1882) is one of only two seascapes van Gogh painted during his years in the Netherlands, and “Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen” (1882-84), showing the church where the artist’s father was a pastor, was a gift to the artist’s mother.
(Prices for van Gogh landscape paintings at auction range from about $10 million to about $70 million.)
But Mr. Durham did not know the historical background of the paintings. He said the paintings were the smallest ones in the gallery he targeted, and closest to the hole through which he entered. He stuffed them into a bag, and escaped by sliding down a rope he and his accomplice had put in place. When he hit the ground, he came down so hard that he smashed the seascape, chipping the paint. He left behind a black baseball cap. A security guard called the police, but she was not permitted to use force to try to stop the burglars.
“It was really a terrible day,” Nienke Bakker, a curator at the Van Gogh Museum, recalled in an interview with The New York Times. “A burglary or robbery is always traumatizing, but when it’s a museum and it’s art that belongs to the whole community, and the whole world, really, and it was stolen in such a brutal way, that was really a shock.”
When he returned home, Mr. Durham said, he removed the frames and plexiglass covers from the paintings. He tossed paint chips from the seascape into a toilet. Later, he dumped the frames in a canal.
Mr. Durham could not sell the canvases on the open market, but he put out the word in the underworld. At one point, he said, he met with Cor van Hout, who was convicted in the 1983 kidnapping of the beer magnate Alfred H. Heineken. Mr. van Hout agreed to buy the paintings, but was killed on the day of the planned sale.


Axel Ruger, right, in Naples, Italy, with the 1880s van Gogh painting “Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen,” also stolen in 2002. Credit Ciro Fusco/European Pressphoto Agency

Later, Mr. Durham and his accomplice, Henk Bieslijn, contacted an Italian mobster, Raffaele Imperiale, who at the time sold marijuana out of a “coffee shop” in Amsterdam. He agreed to buy the two paintings in March 2003 for around 350,000 euros (roughly $380,000), divided equally between the thieves.
Mr. Imperiale’s defense lawyers, Maurizio Frizzi and Giovanni Ricci in Genoa, Italy, confirmed that Mr. Imperiale bought the paintings even though he knew they were stolen, because “he is fond of art” and they were “a good bargain.”
He sent them to Italy within two weeks, and never displayed them.
The thieves spent the money over about six weeks — “Motorcycles, a Mercedes E320, clothes, jewelry for my girlfriend, a trip to New York,” Mr. Durham recalls.
Those purchases helped investigators, who were already wiretapping him, catch Mr. Durham. They went to his apartment, but he escaped by climbing up the side of the building — a skill that earned him the nickname “the Monkey.” They searched his house, but the paintings were long gone.
Mr. Durham fled to Spain, where the police arrested him in Marbella, a southern resort town, in December 2003. The next summer, Dutch forensic investigators confirmed a DNA match from the baseball cap he left behind during the museum robbery. Mr. Durham and Mr. Bieslijn were convicted that year.
Mr. Durham was released from prison in 2006, but still owed 350,000 euros in fines; he has paid about 60,000 euros. He returned to prison after a failed bank robbery. In 2013, he approached the museum and, although he still insisted he was innocent, offered to help retrieve the works. The museum rejected his offer because he suggested that they buy them back.
In 2015, he met the documentary filmmaker Vincent Verweij through a mutual friend. Mr. Durham told Mr. Verweij that he wanted to help find the paintings so that he could clear his debt to the museum and abandon a life of crime. But he still maintained his innocence.
“I told him frankly that I didn’t believe him,” Mr. Verweij recalled in an interview. “One day he sent me a WhatsApp message and asked me to meet him in a cafe, and he admitted that he’d told me a lie and that he did the break-in.”
Mr. Verweij began filming in earnest. Along the way he learned about a big break in the case: Mr. Imperiale had sent a letter on Aug. 29, 2016, to Vincenza Marra, a public prosecutor in Naples, informing them that he had the paintings.
In a phone interview, Ms. Marra said the letter merely confirmed a “much-whispered-about” rumor that investigators had already begun looking into.
“I know that if we hadn’t handed the paintings over to the Dutch authorities, they never would have found them,” she added dryly.
Willem Nijkerk, a Dutch prosecutor, credited the Italian police with solving the case, and noted that Mr. Durham played no role in the recovery of the paintings.

Octave Durham, who stole the two van Gogh works, is the subject of a new Dutch television documentary. Credit Vincent Verweij
Last September, Italian investigators raided Mr. Imperiale’s mother’s home near Naples, where the works were wrapped in cloth and tucked away in a hidden wall space next to the kitchen. The recovery of the works made global headlines. Italian investigators also seized about 20 million euros in other assets, including farmland, villas and apartments linked to Mr. Imperiale and an associate, prosecutors said at the time.
Ms. Bakker, the Van Gogh Museum curator, recalls receiving a call in late September asking her to travel to Naples the next day. She wasn’t given details, but she had her suspicions. She grabbed her files on the paintings.
“When I was on the plane, I remember thinking: I hope they’ve been preserved well and people haven’t taken them off the stretchers,” she recalls.
At the Naples police station, members of the Guardia di Finanza, the Italian police agency for financial crimes, took her to a room where the paintings had been placed on blue-and-white cloth on a table.
“I immediately thought and knew that these were the paintings from our museum,” she said. “But I took another few minutes to convince myself. They were all waiting and standing for me to say the words. I did say them, and then there were cheers.”
Ms. Bakker was surprised that the works seemed in relatively good condition.
“When I saw the damage in the lower left corner of one of the paintings, it was substantial, but I looked at the rest and realized it was the only big damage, and I was very relieved to see that,” she said of the seascape. “It was really like being in some weird movie, with all these police officers around me and this strange Mafia story they were telling me.”
After they were recovered, with much fanfare in Italy, the works were first exhibited for three weeks in February at the National Museum of Capodimonte in Naples, and will be restored to the walls of the Van Gogh Museum on Monday.
Mr. Imperiale left the Netherlands for Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, in 2013 or 2014. In writing to the prosecutor, he may have hoped for leniency, but in January he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The Italian authorities are seeking his extradition. His lawyers said that he was not sure if he would return to Italy.
“He is homesick for his parents, but in Dubai he’s a free man,” Mr. Imperiale’s lawyers said through an interpreter in a telephone interview.
The Van Gogh Museum remains furious at Mr. Durham and did not cooperate with the documentary, which was funded by the Dutch national broadcaster KRO-NCRV. (Mr. Durham, who lives in Amsterdam and works mostly as a driver and an assistant for his daughter, a successful musician, was not paid for his participation, the filmmaker said.)
“The last 14 years have been a roller coaster of hope, disappointment and agony,” the museum’s director, Axel Rüger, said in an interview. “All the time this man is sitting on this information. He knew exactly what he had done and he never breathed a word. To us it feels as if he is seeking the limelight.”
He added: “The museum is the victim in this case, and I would expect very different behavior from someone who shows remorse.”
Mr. Verweij acknowledged the tricky ethics of giving Mr. Durham a platform in the documentary.
“The interesting thing is that you never see documentaries or articles about art theft from the perspective of the thief,” Mr. Verweij said. “It’s always the experts, the museum people, the prosecutors, but never the ones who actually do it, and I think that’s a unique perspective. It’s not meant to be a glorification of this guy.”

16 Years Later, Stash of Stolen Paintings Found Near Crime Scene

One of the stolen paintings ended up at auction.
This painting by Carl Vilhelm Holsøe showed up in the U.S., and led to the thief in Denmark.
This painting by Carl Vilhelm Holsøe showed up in the U.S., and led to the thief in Denmark.
The Art Loss Register announced yesterday, March 14, that a stash of stolen paintings was located in Denmark 16 years after their theft. The paintings were found with the help of local police only 50 miles from the scene of the crime.
Last fall, a painting that had gone missing from a private residence in Denmark re-surfaced at an auction in the United States. The work, by the Danish painter Carl Vilhelm Holsøe—which was consigned by a Danish auction house—came up on the Art Loss Register (ALR) in a routine search of the auction catalogue.
Working together with the Danish police, the ALR were granted a warrant to search the original consignor’s residence, who first sold the painting to the Danish auction house, located just an hour away from the place of theft. 
There, police found seven additional paintings that had been reported stolen from the same private residence over 16 years ago. 
With the Danish police unable to find either the paintings or the thief when the theft of eight paintings was initially reported in December 2000, an insurance company paid out the loss and the works were registered in the ALR’s database for lost and stolen art.
When the Holsøe painting came up during a routine search as part of the auction house’s due diligence, the ALR notified the auction house, the insurer, and the Danish Police.
After seizing the remaining seven artworks, the Danish police returned them to the insurer as the rightful owner, while the portrait by Holsøe remained in the U.S. auction for the benefit of the insurer.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Stolen Art Watch, Brighton Boyle Busted, Terry Get's Four Years in Prison, Suzy Get's Six

Suzy (Goomah) Hawkins & Terry Boyle
Yesterday, March 2nd 2017 at Court 1 Lewes Crown Court in front of Judge Anthony, Terence Michael Boyle, was sentenced to Four years in jail, his Mistress,(Goomah) 22 years his junior, Suzanne Elaine Hawkins was sentenced to Six years in jail,
Anthony Cooper was sentenced to Four years in jail with another two years in jail added for another case from Kingston Crown Court to run consecutively, total six years jail. The final defendant Rizzen got two years in jail.
This case stems from a Police raid at the Boyle/Hawkins farm in North Chailey East Sussex back in 2014 which yealded 1600 cannabis plants.
A proceeds of Crime Order will now go forward with view to recovering at least £1 million from Mr Boyle and Ms Hawkins, not least from the proceeds of the sale of the North Chailey farmhouse, which was put up for sale last year for £1.3 million, then reduced to £1.1 million, then reduced to below £1 million. Current status unknown.
Mr Boyle had the farmhouse built on land aquired back in 2005, see for sale details when priced £1.3 million:

See details when reduced to £1 million:
Coming soon:
Art Hostage will produce a definative history of Terence Boyle and the Boyle Clan.

Billy's name lives on in street sign

For more than 50 years antique dealer Billy Boyle's market stall was a feature of Brighton's bustling street scene.
Now one of the city's streets has been named in tribute to the 86-year-old father of seven, who died of cancer last week.
His youngest son, Richard, 43, has just had two bungalows built on land behind his own home in Princes Terrace, Kemp Town and the road has been officially named Boyles Lane.
More than 100 people, including Billy's 28 grandchildren, filled St John the Baptist Church in Kemp Town for his funeral yesterday.
Before the service, family members were taken on a tour of Billy's haunts in a fleet of 12 hearses.
The tour included the spot in Upper Gardener Street where he set up his first stall and Palace Pier where he met future wife, Rebecca Mears.
His son, Terry, 57, said: "Dad was a wonderful man."
Billy, one of five children, left the notorious Gorbals estate in Glasgow aged 21 and headed south searching for work, ending up in Brighton.
He set up a market stall in Kemp Town and later became one of the town's original licensed street traders.
Boyles Lane will be lit by two of the street lamps salvaged from the site of his stall.
Billy and Rebecca married in 1941 while he was serving in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.
He reached the rank of leading gunner and once, when his ship was torpedoed, was one of only two survivors who spent three days in freezing water before being rescued.
On his return, the couple, who lived in Playden Close, had seven children. Billy died a week before their diamond wedding anniversary.
His eldest son, Billy, 59, continues the family business while Terry, 57, and Richard work in the property business.
Stephen Boyle, 47, runs Becky's Cafe.
His daughter Maureen, 56, runs a sandwich shop, Jeanette, 54, is a care worker and Theresa, 45, mans a fruit and veg stall on the outdoor market.
Richard said: "When we had the two bungalows built we were asked to come up with a name. We all agreed it should be named after him because we all loved him so much."
Mr Boyle's Elvis impersonator grandson Howard, 21, said: "He was a great character with a wonderful sense of humour."
His widow Rebecca said: "His family was his main reason for living. He cherished us all."

Three jailed over Chailey cannabis factory conspiracy

Cannabis factory in North Chailey SUS-170303-150729001

Cannabis factory in North Chailey

Three people have been jailed after the discovery of a cannabis factory worth more than £2 million in North Chailey.

Between them, Terence Boyle, Suzanne Hawkins and Anthony Cooper are set to serve a total of 16 years in prison for their involvement in the drugs operation.

Suzanne Hawkins SUS-170303-150714001

Suzanne Hawkins SUS-170303-150714001

Police say the factory was uncovered at the isolated farm in East Grinstead Road, North Chailey on February 26, 2014, where an outbuilding had been specially adapted to grow the plants.
Officers seized more than 1,700 cannabis plants in various stages of growth, which the court heard could have been worth up to £2.136 million.
Pensioner Terence Boyle, 73 and his partner Suzanne Hawkins, 51 were arrested at the farm on the day, Sussex Police say.
Three other people were also arrested at the time. Two of those arrested – an 19-year-old woman and a 42-year-old man – were later released without charge.

Terence Boyle SUS-170303-150703001

Terence Boyle SUS-170303-150703001

Boyle and Hawkins’ son Jesse Boyle was also arrested.
Jesse Boyle and his parents were charged in May 2015 with conspiracy to supply a controlled class B drug.
During the course of the investigation, officers discovered another man with links to the farm, Anthony Cooper. The 47-year-old was arrested in London and also charged in May 2015 with conspiracy to supply and money laundering.
All four stood trial at Lewes Crown Court on January 23 this year. Cooper pleaded guilty on the first day of the trial to the charge but the case continued for the other three.
Jesse Boyle was found not guilty after a three and a half week trial, however Terence Boyle and Suzanne Hawkins were both found guilty, say police.
Boyle, Hawkins and Cooper have all appeared again at Lewes Crown Court and have been sentenced. Boyle and Hawkins were each given four years. Cooper was given a total of six years – four for conspiracy and two for money laundering.
Investigating officer detective constable Jim Austin said it had “been a long and complex investigation”.

Three people sent to prison for North Chailey cannabis factory

03 Mar, 2017 14:17 News Justice Done
Three people sent to prison for North Chailey cannabis factory

A discovery of a cannabis factory worth up to £2 million has landed three people in prison.
Terence Boyle, Suzanne Hawkins and Anthony Cooper are set to serve 16 years in prison between them for their involvement in the cannabis factory raided by police in February 2014.
The factory was uncovered at the isolated farm in East Grinstead Road, North Chailey on February 26, 2014 where an outbuilding had been specially adapted to grow the plants. More than 1,700 cannabis plants, in various stages of growth and the court heard they could have been worth up to £2.136 million.

Retired Terence Boyle, 73 and his partner Suzanne Hawkins, 51 were arrested at the farm on the day. Three other people were arrested at the time and two, an 19-year-old woman and a 42-year-old man were released without charge. Boyle and Hawkins' son Jesse Boyle was also arrested. Along with his parents, all these were charged in May 2015 with conspiracy to supply a controlled class B drug.
During the course of the investigation, officer discovered another man with links to the farm, Anthony Cooper. The 47-year-old was arrested in London and also charged in May 2015 with conspiracy to supply and money laundering.
All four stood trial on January 23 this year at Lewes Crown Court. Cooper pleaded guilty on the first day of the trial to the charge but the case continued for the other three. After a three and a half week trial, Jesse Boyle was found not guilty, however Terence Boyle and Suzanne Hawkins were found guilty.
Boyle, Hawkins (both pictured below) and Cooper have all appeared again at Lewes Crown Court and have been sentenced. Boyle has been given four years, Hawkins was given four years and Cooper was given four for conspiracy and two for money laundering.

Investigating officer detective constable Jim Austin said: "This has been the largest cannabis factory I have dealt with and this has been a long and complex investigation involving a number of officers and we have succeeded in taking a massive amount of cannabis off the streets. In the process three people who worked together to set up this professional set-up are going to serve time in prison. We are continuing our work to take away the money and assets they have gained from their criminal behaviour."

Back-story to this case:

Sussex Police have uncovered a large-scale cannabis growing facility at an isolated farm.

Detectives and uniform officers executed a drugs warrant at Warrenorth Farm, North Chailey, at 9.15am on Wednesday Feb 26th 2014.

Cannabis farm at North Chailey.

Cannabis farm at North Chailey.

In a specially adapted outbuilding they discovered some 1,500 cannabis plants in various stages of growth, with an estimated street value of at least £1 million.
Two men aged 70 and 25, and two women aged 48 and 19, were arrested at the address on the A275 East Grinstead Road on suspicion of being involved in cannabis cultivation. Later they were in custody for interview and further enquiries.

Cannabis farm at Warrenorth farm, North Chailey.

Cannabis farm at Warrenorth farm, North Chailey.

Detective Inspector Gavin Patch said: “Although our examination of the building is at an early stage it is already clear that this is one of biggest such sites we have seen for some time.
“This was an intelligence-led operation, following up information we received. If anyone has any suspicions about such activity we ask them to call us via 101 or email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk”

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Stolen Art Watch, Picasso Thief Spiderman Tomic On Trial, Hatton Garden Heist Value Doubles, Bacon Pursuit Continues, Chinese Pink Panda's & More..


Picasso, Matisse and other art from 2010 Paris heist may be in Israel

‘Spiderman’ burglar on trial over $100m haul of five paintings; one accomplice suspected of selling them to Israeli collector

PARIS — A burglar dubbed “Spiderman,” notorious for daring acrobatic heists, went on trial here this week for a $100 million art heist in 2010 that saw works by Picasso and Matisse stolen from a Paris gallery.
Investigators reportedly believe the works may have been smuggled to Israel by one of two other defendants in the trial, for sale to an Israeli collector.
Vjeran Tomic, a 49-year-old who is a skilled rock climber, faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted of the robbery. His co-defendants face up to 10 years.
The second defendant, antiques dealer Jean-Michel Corvez, is accused of ordering one of the paintings, by Fernand Léger, on behalf of a “Moroccan or Saudi” collector.
And the third defendant, Yonathan Birn, a rare watch dealer, is accused of concealing all five paintings after the heist, and suspected of having brougth them to Israel, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported.
Vjeran Tomic, the main suspect in the 2010 theft of five masterpieces from the Paris Modern Art Museum, arrives at his trial on January 30, 2017, at the courthouse in Paris. (AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND GUAY)
Vjeran Tomic, the main suspect in the 2010 theft of five masterpieces from the Paris Modern Art Museum, arrives at his trial on January 30, 2017, at the courthouse in Paris. (AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND GUAY)
When questioned in court, Birn claimed he had panicked and thrown all the artwork away. “I’m crying because it’s monstrous what I’ve done,” he said according to the indictment. “I was overcome with panic. I lost all reason and decided to take the paintings out of my workplace and from a safe.”
Birn said in court that he “understands that nobody believes” his claim that he destroyed the works. And investigators suspect that he smuggled the paintings out of the country, perhaps to Israel, which he recently visited. Investigators “believe that the works were sold to a collector — perhaps in Israel, which Mr Birn visited,” the Telegraph said.
Tomic arrived in a blue overcoat and sweatshirt for his trial in Paris and admitted to carrying out the heist after being arrested in May 2011 and compared himself to a famed thief from French literature as he spoke to reporters on Monday.
“What role did I have? Arsene Lupin,” he told reporters with a smile, referring to the sly but charming character who ransacked rich Parisians’ homes in stories published at the start of the 20th century.
Tomic and the two alleged accomplices have been charged over the May 2010 robbery at the Modern Art Museum of five paintings by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Ferdinand Leger and Amedeo Modigliani. All the artworks are still missing.
Tomic is suspected of cutting through a padlocked gate and breaking a window to get into the gallery, one of the most-visited museums in Paris on the banks of the Seine.
The museum’s alarms had been awaiting repair for several weeks and Tomic is alleged to have somehow knocked out a security camera.
Three guards were on duty that night, but the paintings were only found to be missing from their frames just as the museum prepared to open to the public the next day.
When police arrested the Serb in May 2011, Tomic told them he had initially broken into the museum for Leger’s “Still Life with Candlestick” from 1922, not thinking he would also be able to steal another four.
Besides the Leger canvas, the other works stolen were Picasso’s cubist “Dove with Green Peas” from 1912 — alone worth an estimated 25 million euros ($26.8 million) — French contemporary Matisse’s “Pastoral” from 1905, Braque’s “Olive Tree near Estaque” from 1906, and Modigliani’s “Woman with a Fan” from 1919.
All but the Modigliani were hung in the same room in the museum, located in the well-heeled 16th district of Paris, which is run by the city and is home to more than 8,000 works of 20th century art.

‘Liked’ paintings

Tomic, who has a criminal record of 14 previous offenses, said he took them all because he “liked” the paintings.
Authorities put the total value of the haul at 100 million euros ($107 million), but some experts said they were worth twice that, while admitting it would be impossible to sell such artworks on the open market.
The presiding judge at the trial on Monday, Peimane Ghaleh-Marzban, said the value of the masterworks was “far higher than their market value.”
They have still not been recovered.
Ghaleh-Marzban also criticized the security “failures” which enabled the heist to be carried out with “disconcerting ease.”
The defendants face a 10-year jail term if convicted for the theft or re-sale of the artworks, but Tomic’s sentence could be double that given his criminal record.
Athletically built and 1.90 meters (6 foot 2 inches) tall, he earned his nickname for clambering into posh Parisian apartments and museums to steal valuable gems and works of art.
Prosecutors claim he was spotted by a homeless man as he roamed around the museum in the days leading to the theft.
Police arrested him after receiving an anonymous tip and tracking his mobile phone. Surveillance cameras from the night of the heist recorded only one person entering through a window who could not be identified.
An art dealer who admitted to having the paintings for a short time said he dumped them in a garbage can, which authorities do not believe.
International police body Interpol put out an alert to its 188 member countries in the hope of recovering the five paintings, but so far they all remain missing.
There has been a spate of art thefts in Europe in recent years.
The most recent, in 2015, involved the theft of five paintings worth 25 million euros by renowned British artist Francis Bacon in Madrid.
Spanish police arrested seven people last year suspected of being involved in that theft.

Hatton Garden heist value has 'DOUBLED since the raid and now stands at £29million'

It was originally thought that £10million in cash and jewellery had been taken during the raid by a gang of elderly criminals

The estimated value of loot stolen in the Hatton Garden heist has more than doubled to £29m, a court heard.
It was originally thought that £10million in cash and jewellery had been taken during the raid by a gang of elderly criminals.
But at a confiscation hearing at Woolwich Crown Court, barristers said detectives are now claiming the amount stolen totalled £25m, plus £4million worth of gear that was recovered.
If the raiders do not pay back what the judge rules they gained from the crime, they could face up to a maximum of 14 years of jail time being added to their sentences, without parole.
Denis Barry, representing gang member Daniel Jones, said: “The Crown says it is £25 million between five and that really is one of the issues we are going to have to wrestle with. That’s what makes this case exceptional.”
The true value of the stolen goods will never be known because there was no record of what was stored in the vault.
It is in the interests of the police and the alleged victims to over inflate the figure to get longer sentences for the gang and higher insurance payouts.
Earlier this month it emerged a woman came forward more than a year after the raid to claim she had £7million worth of valuables stolen.
The alleged victim spoke to police last June, 15 months after the break-in. She said that was when she realised her valuables had been stolen, after coverage of the raiders’ trial, which ended in January.
The gang, with a combined age of 448, carried out the “sophisticated” and meticulously planned break-in over the 2015 Easter holiday.
Using a diamond tipped drill they bored into the vault and ransacked 73 deposit boxes for gold, diamonds and sapphires.
John “Kenny” Collins, 76, Daniel Jones, 62, Terry Perkins, 68, and the group’s oldest member, Brian Reader, 78, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.
A biography of mastermind Brian Reader revealed he is the nation’s most prolific thief, having been involved in raids worth £200million.
The book, One Last Job, details how he planned the Hatton Garden theft with a burglar alarm expert known as Basil or The Ghost, who is still at large.
Tom Wainwright, for Reader, asked for a QC to be appointed to his client’s case, stating they would have the required skill to deal with proceedings of this length and Reader’s health.
He said: “The case is made more complex because Mr Reader is not in good health.
“He is likely to be in worse health come December or January.”
A full confiscation hearing, under the Proceeds of Crime Act, will determine how each of the defendants benefited from the raid and is expected to take place in 2018.

Art thieves suspected of Francis Bacon heist arrested in Madrid

Art thieves suspected of Francis Bacon heist arrested in Madrid
Photo: Policia Nacional
Spanish police have arrested three people in connection with the theft of five paintings by the Irish-born artist Francis Bacon valued at €25 million.
Police raided six properties in the Madrid region and seized a gun, ammunition, manuals to cracking safes, laser devices and oxy-fuel cylinders used to cut metal, Spain’s National Police said in a statement on Tuesday.
The three people were “directly connected” to the robbery and were part of a group that burgled homes across Spain, the statement said. Five other members of the gang were also arrested for a further 15 robberies.
The five paintings by Francis Bacon were stolen from the Madrid home of an art collector in June, 2015, who had reportedly been a close friend of the artist.
They were valued at around €25 million, ($26.88 million).
The thieves, who left no trace of their handiwork, had tracked the owner's movements to ensure he did not return to his apartment to catch them red-handed.Irish-born Bacon died in Madrid in 1992 aged 82 and his expressionist-surrealist works, which are often raw and emotional, remain hugely sought after.
Bacon's death only enhanced his reputation and the 2013 sale of his 1969 work "Three Studies of Lucien Freud" fetched $142,405,000 at auction, a world record at the time.
The theft occurred in June 2015, when J. C. B.—a Spanish friend of the legendary painter who inherited the artworks when Bacon died in 1992—left his residence, in an affluent area in the center of Madrid, for a few hours.
Besides the five paintings, said to be of medium to small size, the thieves stole a safe containing several collections of coins, jewels, and other valuable goods.
At the time, ABC reported that the initials J. C. B. correspond to José Capelo Blanco, and that he was Bacon’s last lover during a relationship that lasted four years, until Bacon’s death in Madrid.
Art market information leader Artprice lists Bacon as one of 10 frontline modern artists alongside the likes of Picasso and Andy Warhol Warhol whose works comprise 18 percent of global sales.

Antiques dealer jailed for stealing painting from Chester Cathedral

Latvian Vasilijs Apilats, 61, sentenced to nine months for stealing painting worth about £2,000 in August 2014
A Latvian antiques dealer who stole a 19th-century religious painting from a cathedral because he was besotted with the artwork has been jailed for nine months.
The Raising Of Lazarus was torn from its easel on the altar in the chapel of Saint Anselm in Chester Cathedral, a quiet corner intended for prayer and reflection. In its place a cheap Christmas tree decoration of an angel was left behind.
The icon, worth about £2,000, was stolen by talented artist and experienced restorer, Vasilijs Apilats, 61.
Chester crown court heard Apilats stole the item not for greed but because he was besotted by such artwork and his actions were “akin to the instinct of a magpie”.The Greek painting was donated to the historic cathedral seven years ago by the family of a former dean of Chester, Ingram Cleasby.
The recorder, Eric Lamb, told the court as he jailed the defendant: “Having seen photos of your home, I have formed the view that you committed this crime out of a simple desire to acquire the icon, rather than having any specific monetary gain in mind.”
Apilats had denied stealing the icon, dating from about 1870, in August 2014. During his trial last year he professed his orthodox Christian faith and claimed he was offered it for sale by an unidentified man at the cathedral.
He said he placed the icon into black bin liners and was told by the man he had to leave the cathedral through a back door and a metal fence.
But Apilats, who followed proceedings through a Russian interpreter, was convicted by the jury of the theft.
During the hunt for the painting officers searched the Cheshire home of the art collector and found the icon wrapped inside a bin bag and hidden among a haul of dozens of other religious artefacts.Apilats, was tracked down through his DNA from swabs taken from the easel that the painting had been screwed upon.
The following month in his terraced home in Crewe officers found paintings mostly depicting Jesus, religious books, crucifixes, busts and other church-related ornaments. Three other men – aged 31, 34 and 36 – and a 57-year-old woman were arrested but freed without charge.
After his conviction Apilats, who was given indefinite leave to remain in the UK after moving from Latvia in 1990, wrote a “gushing” apology letter to the cathedral and the general public, begging for forgiveness.
In a victim impact statement, Peter Howell-Jones, the vice-dean of Chester Cathedral, said the icon was “hugely important”, used as an aid for prayer and its theft had upset the congregation.
It emerged Apilats had previously been made the subject of a restraining order after pleading guilty to harassing the Crewe and Nantwich Tory MP, Edward Timpson, after he attended his constituency office and threatened him and members of staff during a row over housing.
Apilats claimed he had been allowed to settle in the UK in 1990 after claiming he had to flee the Russian mafia over his antique deals in Latvia.
During his trial, Apilats claimed he had bought the painting for “restoration purposes” in good faith. He said he was approached by two men he claimed worked at the cathedral and said they offered it to him for £250 before negotiating a sale price of £135 in cash. His solicitor, Peter Moss, said Apilats had a mental disorder. He claimed it was from ill-treatment suffered at the hands of the Russian mafia. The defendant was also ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge.
However, Sgt Neil Doleman, of Cheshire constabulary, said: “Apilats is a man who appears to be obsessed with religious artefacts. He selfishly took an icon, which was not only of significant value but was also of huge importance to Chester Cathedral and the public who used it as an aid to pray.”
Chester Cathedral constable Chris Jones said: “We are delighted to be able to re-instate the stolen 18th century icon here at the cathedral. It has now been returned to its rightful place in St Anselm’s chapel, a place used for prayer and refection.
“The icon was gifted to the cathedral by a former dean of Chester, Ingram Cleasby, so it is a very meaningful part of the history of the building.
“We would like to thank everyone involved in the search for the icon, especially the Cheshire constabulary for their careful and dedicated work. We were very saddened when the icon was taken and thought it had gone forever so to see it returned is very special.”

3 Chinese linked to 'Pink Panda' theft group nabbed over diamond ring heist
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) arrested three Chinese nationals on Jan. 24 on suspicion of stealing a diamond ring worth 2.8 million yen, the department announced.
The three are thought to be members of the Chinese theft group "Pink Panda," and include Yang Manwan, 47, of unknown occupation.
The three are accused of stealing a diamond ring from a jewelry store's booth at an international jewelry exhibition at Tokyo Big Sight in Koto Ward, Tokyo, before noon on Jan. 20 last year. All three are denying the allegations, the MPD says.
According to the MPD, the three suspects came to the attention of investigators after they examined security footage of the exhibition. Investigators were issued warrants for the arrest of the three and were searching for them, when they showed up at a jewelry exhibition that began this month on Jan. 23. They were then arrested by investigators.
Pink Panda is composed of people from China's Hunan Province. The gang was given the name by French police after the "Pink Panther" group, which is another international jewelry thief group.