Thursday, October 01, 2015

Stolen Art Watch, October Surprise 2015

Hatton Garden Raider: I'll Show Where Loot Is

A man who admits taking part in the £20m jewel heist offers to reveal where he hid his share of the haul in a letter to Sky News
One of the Hatton Garden raiders claims police have ignored his offer to show them where he has hidden his share of the loot.
Danny Jones, 58, has admitted his part in the £20m heist and says he wants to be taken out of his high security jail to hand back what he stole.
He fears if he is not allowed to reveal where he hid the haul, someone else might find it.
Jones wrote to me in a letter from his prison cell: "I've instructed my tell the police Flying Squad that I want to give back my share of (the) Hatton Garden burglary, they said it's in motion.
"I now understand that the police said that the prison Belmarsh won't release me to the police. What a load of bull.
"The police can't want it back, as I'm the only person in the world to no (know) where it is, deep down. I want to do the right thing and give it back."
Jones is one of four men who have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle the Hatton Garden safe deposit centre in London over the Easter bank holiday weekend. They are awaiting sentence.
Five others have denied involvement and are to stand trial next month.
Four others are accused of money laundering and have yet to enter pleas.
This week a pre-trial hearing heard that police now believed that up to £20m worth of jewellery, gems and cash was stolen in the raid and "a significant amount" had still not been recovered.
Previously they said the haul was "in excess of £10m".
Jones wrote: "They are trying to make me look a bad person.
"I'm trying my best to put things right and for some reason they don't want me to give it back.
"If I don't get the chance to go out under armed escort, I hope some poor sod who's having it hard out there with his or her family find the lot and have a nice life, as you never know, Martin, people do find things, don't they?"
Prisoners are allowed to be taken from their cells to help police investigations, but under strict rules and security.
Jones is held in the high-risk wing of Belmarsh jail and subject to more restrictions than most prisoners, but other high-profile inmates have been taken out briefly for a variety of reasons.
He wrote: "You would have thought the police would have jumped with joy, but for some reason which I don't know, they are not that interested.
"They took that sex killer Levi Belfour (Bellfield) a few years ago, he showed the police where he killed those women.
"So, there you go, Martin, a sex killer and there's me, a 58-year-old burnt-out burglar. Maybe they think I'm going to get (a) hit squad to get me out, my God how stupid."
In a second letter, three weeks later, Jones wrote: "I haven't heard from the police concerning the stuff I want to give back.
"I'm just waiting for the police to take me out giving them back part of the stolen goods.
"They won't let me know if they (are) coming to take me out. Security reasons.
"They better hurry up, we don't want anyone finding it, do we?"
The Ministry of Justice said the issue was one for Scotland Yard to answer.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "We are not prepared to discuss an ongoing investigation."

U.S. offers $5 million reward to stop Islamic State from stealing antiques

In this image made from video posted on a social media account affiliated with the Islamic State group on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, a militant topples an ancient artifact in the Ninevah Museum in Mosul, Iraq. (AP Photo via militant social media account) ** FILE **
In this image made from video posted on a social media account affiliated with the Islamic State group on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, a militant topples an ancient artifact
- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 30, 2015
The U.S. announced a new campaign on Tuesday to stop Islamic State militants from smuggling priceless artifacts out of the region to be sold at auctions, by offering a $5 million reward for information that could thwart such activities.
The State Department announced the effort, known as the “Reward for Justice” program at an event at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. The department will work with other nations to ensure the extremist group does not erase Iraq and Syria’s rich cultural history.
“ISIL’s damage and looting of historic sites in Syria and Iraq have not only destroyed irreplaceable evidence of ancient life and society but have also helped fund its reign of terror inside those countries,” the State Department said in a press release, using an alternative acronym for the Islamic State.
Last month the FBI issued a warning urging art dealers in the U.S. to take extra precautions when buying artifacts from the Middle East, citing evidence that collectors may have been offered stolen antiques plundered by the terrorist group.
The militants have used the money form sales of stolen antiquities to fund terrorist activities.
In June, the House passed a bill to stop the militants from profiting off the sale of stolen artifacts. The bill would give the Obama administration the authority to impose import restrictions on antiquities coming in from Syria. The bill is still awaiting a vote in the Senate.
The stolen antiques have been dubbed “blood antiques,” adapted from the term “blood diamonds” used to refer to gems that financed fighters in African wars from Angola to Sierra Leone.

Gardaí probing theft of art from stately home's collection

Killarney House 
Killarney House
More than €500,000 worth of historical artefacts have been stolen from a stately home's collection.

Some 39 items, including 26 paintings, were found to have been taken from the Killarney House collection.
Seamus McCarthy, the Comptroller & Auditor General, revealed gardaí were investigating the disappearance of the artefacts.
A wider review found that 173 items on loan from the State art collection to locations around the country had also gone missing.
Killarney House in Co Kerry was once home to the Earl of Kenmare and hosted Queen Victoria in 1861.
It has been in State ownership since 1978 and is currently undergoing an €8.5m restoration, with the house and gardens due to open next year.
The contents of the house, including 81 artworks valued at €920,000, were catalogued and placed in storage in 1999 pending the restoration work.
According to Mr McCarthy, the loss of a number of items was discovered in October 2012 after two paintings appeared at an auction and were recognised by staff from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Each painting was valued at around €32,000.
It was subsequently discovered that 39 items were missing, with a combined value of €520,000.
Mr McCarthy said a Garda investigation had been ongoing for three years. It is unclear if any of the missing art has been recovered.

Top Nazi’s vast collection of stolen art revealed

PARIS — France’s World War II archives have helped produce an unusual art book: a catalog of more than 1,000 paintings, tapestries and sculptures amassed by senior Nazi official Hermann Goering — many of them stolen from Jews deported to death camps.
It’s an effort to remind modern readers of Nazi crimes, as the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles and European far right groups are stirring up nationalist sentiment. The publication Wednesday could also revive efforts to return artworks stolen by the Nazis to Jewish families.

Nazi Hermann Goering after his arrest in May 1945. Goering was tried for war crimes and sentenced to hang, but took a cyanide pill and died while in jail
“Artworks should never be quarry,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius wrote in a preface to the new book. “They constitute a common good of humanity. This truth is timeless; the publication of this work is an occasion to remember it.”
A portrait by Goya and a landscape by Sisley are among 1,376 works by Italian, Dutch, French and German masters that adorned Goering’s home in Carinhall near Berlin.
It also includes Goering’s carefully maintained ledger, with handwritten comments about the quality of the work and notes from Nazi officials about where they were taken and when. The ledger was among documents seized by French forces from Germany at the end of the war, according to the French Foreign Ministry.
With guidance from art historians, Goering gathered a museum-worthy collection spanning leading genres of Western European art. He repeatedly visited occupied Paris, a prominent global art market, during the war.
At the end of the war, some of the works were found by American troops, and the French government worked to recover artworks pillaged from France. Many works were restored to Jewish families, but others remain in government collections, their original owners never found.
Historian Jean-Marc Dreyfus, who compiled the catalog, is now resuscitating efforts to restore the artworks to their owners.
Fabius described the collection as “an odious hunting trophy.”

The Billionaire, the Picassos and a $30 Million Gift to Shame a Middleman

“Femme se Coiffant,” left, and “Espagnole à l’Éventail,” Picasso portraits of his second wife, Jacqueline Roque, are to be returned to her daughter. Credit 2015 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
MONACO — In what appears at first glance to be a simple, magnanimous act, a Russian billionaire is poised this week to return two Picassos, valued at $30 million, to the artist’s stepdaughter, who says the works, both portraits of her mother — Jacqueline Roque, Picasso’s second wife — were stolen from her.
The businessman, Dmitry E. Rybolovlev, owner of one of the world’s most valuable art collections, said in an interview last week that he bought the works in good faith in 2013, without any hint that there was a question about their title.
“I feel solidarity with her, especially because there is a strong emotional link between the portraits of her and her mother,” Mr. Rybolovlev said in the interview from his penthouse apartment here overlooking the Mediterranean.

But Mr. Rybolovlev’s decision is much more than just a chivalrous, expensive gesture. The man from whom he bought the portraits, Yves Bouvier, is also Mr. Rybolovlev’s adversary in what has become perhaps the largest feud in the art world today. And by returning the art in such a public fashion, he is drawing attention to their broader fight.

Dmitry E. Rybolovlev, the buyer, at his apartment in Monaco. Credit Benjamin Bechet for The New York Times

For the past year, Mr. Rybolovlev has been battling Mr. Bouvier in courtrooms in Paris, Monaco, Singapore and Hong Kong in a dispute that has shed light on some of the murkier corners of the international art market. He has accused Mr. Bouvier, who helped him amass his collection, of fraud by overcharging him as much as $1 billion for multiple pieces of art.
Karen Boyer, a New York art adviser, said the dispute was “being watched pretty widely.”
“A movie could be made out of it,” she added.
The feud began last year, Mr. Rybolovlev said, when by chance he met an art adviser over lunch during a Caribbean vacation and discovered that — in a purchase arranged by Mr. Bouvier — he had paid $118 million for a Modigliani painting that a hedge fund billionaire, Steven A. Cohen, had sold for only $93.5 million.
Now, by returning the Picassos as planned in Paris on Thursday, Mr. Rybolovlev is supporting Picasso’s stepdaughter, Catherine Hutin-Blay, whose theft claim is being investigated by French officials.
But Mr. Bouvier complains he is being unfairly attacked by an art-world insider who understands the rules completely. He says he believed he had legally purchased the Picasso works, and their return, he said, is being staged only to embarrass him.
“It’s a pure media show,” said Mr. Bouvier, 52, who nonetheless was ordered by the French court to deposit the price of the portraits while the inquiry progresses.
Though it is his work as an art dealer and adviser that has drawn fire from Mr. Rybolovlev, Mr. Bouvier, a Swiss businessman, is better known as a man who runs an expanding network of freeports, the largely tax-free storage depots where wealthy collectors now store so many of their treasures.
The dispute would be noteworthy if it were only a clash of giant egos. But Mr. Rybolovlev says his goal is larger. Sitting in his Monte Carlo home, Mr. Rybolovlev, a trim, reserved man of 48, announced with clinical detachment his hope of focusing attention on the often opaque nature of transactions in the art market, where buyers often do not know the identity of sellers.
“If the market were more transparent, these things wouldn’t happen,” he said.
The two men met in 2003, when Mr. Bouvier began helping Mr. Rybolovlev with his collection. Trained as a physician, Mr. Rybolovlev made his fortune in the production and export of potash fertilizer after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Forbes currently estimates his worth at more than $8 billion. Through family trusts, he has bought a Greek island, Monaco’s soccer team and real estate around the world, including Donald Trump’s former oceanfront home in Florida.
He has also spent nearly $2 billion on art, relying often on Mr. Bouvier’s contacts to obtain works by El Greco, van Gogh, Matisse and others.
Mr. Bouvier is known as the “king of the freeports” because he is the main operator or lead private investor in three of the half-dozen or so major freeports that are known to specialize in art. His private transportation company and high-tech warehouses in Switzerland, Luxembourg and Singapore draw business from wealthy collectors who want to store and trade their possessions privately with tax advantages.
In these roles, he circulates on the global art circuit, building a network of contacts that he puts to work for his art-buying clients, like Mr. Rybolovlev, who was his biggest. “That is the way of the art market,” said Mr. Bouvier, a wiry man who wore sneakers to an interview at a Geneva steakhouse. “It’s a hunt for information.” And those who collect it, he said, expect to be paid.
Larry Gagosian, the New York art dealer, is among those who question whether Mr. Bouvier should be both storing and selling art since running a warehouse gives him privileged information about collectors’ art holdings.
“I’d consider it a terrible conflict of interest and would never keep art long term in the warehouse of a dealer,” Mr. Gagosian said.


Yves Bouvier, the dealer, at his office in Geneva. Credit Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone

Mr. Rybolovlev acknowledges, though, that he had full confidence in Mr. Bouvier during a period when, by his account, they spent much time together on his private Greek island or in the soccer stands at Monaco.
Though Mr. Bouvier acknowledges socializing with Mr. Rybolovlev, he says the two were not close. “I never spoke to him directly for more than two minutes on the ski lift,” said Mr. Bouvier, who noted that they communicated through translators because the Russian businessman spoke little French or English.
Everyone agrees their relationship suddenly soured late last year as they argued over payments and disputed the terms under which they were doing business. Mr. Rybolovlev says he had believed Mr. Bouvier was acting as his intermediary in their transactions, negotiating the best price and taking a 2 percent fee, based on the purchase price.
In emails to the Russian’s adviser, Mr. Bouvier appeared to portray himself as negotiating hard terms or, in one example, urging Mr. Rybolovlev to make a speedy purchase because “the seller is very old and has a heart condition.” Mr. Bouvier, though, said it was always clear that he was operating as an independent seller who could buy the art and resell on his own terms and charge Mr. Rybolovlev what the market would bear.

Last January, Mr. Rybolovlev filed a criminal complaint in Monaco, asserting that his trusted adviser had been secretly marking up the works that he obtained on the collector’s behalf. Mr. Bouvier was arrested but released on bail, and the case is still unresolved.
Mr. Rybolovlev also went to court in Singapore, where Mr. Bouvier lives, to freeze $1.1 billion of Mr. Bouvier’s assets. But a court there lifted the freeze.
“It is at least doubtful, even if not wholly incredible, that the respondents genuinely believed that the remuneration for Mr. Bouvier’s services was limited to the 2 percent fee that the respondents plainly knew they were paying him,” the judge in the case wrote.
Their latest skirmish involves the two portraits of Roque, who committed suicide in 1986. In testimony to French investigators earlier this year, Ms. Hutin-Blay, 67, said she had entrusted the gouache portraits of her mother and other works to a business partner of Mr. Bouvier’s to store for her in a vault outside Paris.
Several years later, she said, an art restorer who worked for Mr. Bouvier’s company in the Geneva Freeport, told her that the painting had been brought there, restored and sold to Mr. Rybolovlev.
In March, Ms. Hutin-Blay filed a legal complaint asserting that her property had been stolen.
For his part, Mr. Bouvier said that while he never met Ms. Hutin-Blay, he had believed intermediaries were representing her in the sale. Documents show he wired $8 million for the Picasso portraits in 2010 to the Nobilo Trust, of which, he said, he believed she was a beneficiary.
“I am not crazy,” he said. “I’m not going to sell stolen art to someone who has bought 2 billion in art from me. He was my biggest client. I am not a fool.”
But Ms. Hutin-Blay’s lawyer in Paris, Anne-Sophie Nardon, said that Ms. Hutin-Blay had never authorized the sale of the paintings or received the money. She declined further comment and would not discuss whether Ms. Hutin-Blay did have a relationship to the Nobilo Trust.
After they turn over the paintings on Thursday to Ms. Hutin-Blay’s lawyer, Mr. Rybolovlev’s representatives said, they expect French police investigators to take custody of them to authenticate the paintings and await the outcome of the judicial proceedings. But he said he was taking this step now because “I understand her emotional state.”
“It was a personal act of betrayal,” he said.
Mr. Bouvier’s French lawyer, Ron Soffer, pointed out that Mr. Bouvier had not been charged with a crime. Mr. Bouvier himself seemed unbowed during the interview last week, as he rummaged through a shopping bag full of documents that he said showed how unfair it was to suggest he had sold Mr. Rybolovlev stolen Picassos.
“Just till now, I have been a gentleman,” he said. “But from now on, I am the resistance and I will reveal the truth.”
Irish National Extradited on Rhino Horn Charges
(CN) - An Irish national was extradited to the United States and appeared in court this week on charges of rhinoceros horn trafficking, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
     Patrick Sheridan was arrested in the United Kingdom in January after a request by the United States. The federal government sought Sheridan's extradition over his alleged role in trafficking black rhinoceros horns, according to a statement by the U.S. Department of Justice.
     A Waco, Texas, federal grand jury indicted Sheridan and a co-defendant last year on charges they conspired to buy and sell the rhinoceros horns and on violations of the Lacey Act. Sheridan, the co-defendant and Michael Slattery Jr. bought the horns from a Texas taxidermist and then sold them in New York, according to the indictment.
     Slattery pleaded guilty in 2013 to conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act. He was described by the Justice Department as a member of The Rathkeale Rovers.
     Also known as Irish Travelers, Europol says this nomadic, tight-knit extended family group has been involved in an epidemic of raids on museums in Europe involving the theft of rhinoceros horns. The group allegedly leverages the rising price for rhinoceros horns on the black market to be used for traditional medicines and carving.
     Slattery admitted that he traveled within the United States between May 2010 and April 2011 to purchase rhinoceros horns, and then resold them to private individuals or consigned them to auction houses in the United States.
     Sheridan and his unnamed co-defendant are also charged with making a fraudulent bill of sale in an attempt to make their purchase of the rhinoceros horns appear legal. Sheridan appeared in Federal Court on Monday and his arraignment and detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday, the government said.
     If convicted, Sheridan and the co-defendant face up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
     "Rhino horn trafficking is having a devastating effect on the rhino and the allegations facing this individual are just the type of illegal behavior that is fueling an international market for horns. We must stop it in its tracks," John Cruden, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, said in a statement Tuesday.

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Art Theft

How much do you know about stolen art? Theft and forgery in the world of art is actually big business. Read our article to find out nine things you didn't know about art theft.

Art theft and forgery is big business. In actual fact, as reported by the Telegraph newspaper on art crime news and also shown in Printerinks' latest interactive art data graphic on Theft and Forgery in the World of Art, art-related crimes in places like the United Kingdom total an average of over 300 million pounds annually, with six to eight billion dollars’ worth of art stolen (or forged) worldwide each year.
So what happens to a piece of art when it’s stolen? It’s estimated that only five to ten percent of stolen artworks are ever recovered, and many great masterpieces (such as those stolen by the Nazis during World War II) have never resurfaced again.
Some stolen artworks journey the world over and over. The interactive graphic shows the journey of stolen paintings, and lists some of the most audacious and memorable art heists in world history. You’ll also find out about some of the most infamous forgers in history, many of whom managed to fool museums and private collectors for decades. Here are nine things you may not have known:

Most art is stolen from private homes

When people think of art theft, they often think of museums, but 52 percent of stolen artwork disappears from the homes of private collectors, while another eight percent is stolen from places of worship. 95 percent of this stolen art never returns to its country of origin.

A total of 50,000 to 100,000 works of art are taken by art thieves each year

40 percent of all art thefts take place within the United Kingdom, while 19 percent of art thefts occur in the United States.

The United States and the UK each employ an “Art Crime Team”

In 2004, the FBI established a team of special agents responsible for investigating art theft and forgery cases. To date, the team has recovered more than 2,600 items, worth over $150 million. The U.S. Art Crime Team consists of 16 people, one for every 21 million people in the country, whereas the United Kingdom’s team employs only two full-time agents and one part-time agent.

Michelangelo is among the world’s most famous forgers

Renowned artist Michelangelo used to make copies of major works, age them artificially, and secretly swap them for the originals. The most prolific forger of art was Mark Landis, a diagnosed schizophrenic born in 1955 who tricked over 60 museums into believing his replicas were authentic.

A family now famous for their art forgeries lived in abject poverty

The British Greenhalgh family produced forgeries worth up to 11 million dollars between 1989 and 2006. Despite the value of their forgeries, they lived frugally and laundered most of the money. They were eventually sentenced to four years in prison by Scotland Yard.

The largest art heist in United States history ended in no arrests

Over 500 million dollars in art, including five Degas and three Rembrandts, was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. No arrests were ever made, and there is an outstanding five million dollars reward for information on the case.

One of the most famous art heists in history took place in broad daylight

Stéphane Breitweiser was given only 26 months for stealing over two hundred works of art

Over a period of six years, Breitweiser admitted to stealing artwork from museums all across Europe. The stolen works were valued at over a billion dollars, and only about half were ever recovered.

Buyers can take steps to protect themselves against forged or stolen art

Obtaining a certificate of authenticity or using digital authentication techniques, a buyer can prevent themselves from being defrauded. Buyers can also detect forgeries by familiarizing themselves with the artist and understanding their techniques and subject matter.

Police arrested the robbers, who stole the 73-year-old Muscovite service fabergé and his sword

Moscow police detained three accomplices in the robbery, during which the pensioner was stolen antique dinnerware, made world-famous jewelry house fabergé.
On Thursday simultaneously in two locations, the staff of the 18th division of the Moscow criminal investigation Department detained the two suspects are 30-year and 50-year-old residents of Moscow, reports the official website of the Ministry of internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.
One of the detainees had been convicted for committing robberies. Later in his apartment and found the stolen property.
And on Friday around noon at the intersection of Nametkin and Union operatives together with the crew of the traffic police and employees of private security GU MVD detained the third suspect is 45-year-old Muscovite.
The investigation began on August 27, when the police asked the 73-year-old resident of the capital, a statement about the robbery. He said that when he heard the doorbell, opened the front door. Immediately after that, his apartment was raided by four intruders in masks.
«Threatening with a knife to the victim and his cousin, the robbers tied them up with duct tape, cracked the safe and took money, jewelry and personal belongings worth about three million rubles,» — said in a press release.
In addition, criminals have stolen Antiques: tea set, Faberge, silver service of the XVIII century, a sword and a pistol, inlaid with precious stones and silver, and antique paintings. The exact cost of the Antiques are difficult to determine, approximately several tens of millions of rubles, reports «Interfax».
In fact the incident a criminal case under item 162 of the criminal code («Robbery»).

Antique cups and saucers stolen from Osterley Park House

Two 300-year-old cups with saucers have been stolen from a country house.
The antiques, valued at between £2,000 and £3,000, were taken from Osterley Park House in Twickenham, south-west London, on 16 July.
They were taken from a locked cabinet in a room that was closed to the public due to a wedding at the house.
The pieces have images of Russian ruler Catherine the Great and Prussian king Frederick William II, and were made between 1770 and 1775.
The cups and saucers, which are made of Berlin porcelain, are described as dark blue and painted 'en grisaille' with heavy gilding, flower sprays, finials and branch handles.
Det Con Ray Swan, from the Mets Art's and Antiques Unit, said: "The cups and saucers are of significant historical value, we believe that whoever took them specifically targeted these pieces.
"We would urge anyone who may know of their whereabouts to come forward as they may hold vital information to help us catch whoever was responsible for this burglary.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Stolen Art Watch, Bulmer Paintings Recovered In Shemitah September Sting In Long Tail, Plus Hatton Garden Update & More

Millions of pounds worth of paintings stolen from the country mansion of cider heir found by 'The Scream' sleuth
  • 15 paintings were stolen from home of former MP Esmond Bulmer 2009
  • Two were regarded as 'important works' and police launched investigation
  • But after years of no results, couple turned to private investigators for help 
  • Paintings have now been returned - and one sleuth involved is the man who recovered The Scream after it was stolen from an Oslo gallery in 1994
 Dick Ellis,Above, of  Quintons Farm House Grove Lane Ashfield Stowmarket IP146LZ

Millions of pounds’ worth of artworks stolen during a dramatic raid on a country mansion six years ago have been recovered – with the help of the man who famously tracked down Edvard Munch’s The Scream.
Former Tory MP Esmond Bulmer, of the Bulmers cider dynasty, said the paintings were returned after private investigators succeeded where the police had failed.
One sleuth involved in the operation, former Scotland Yard detective Charles Hill, is the man who recovered The Scream after it was stolen from an Oslo gallery in 1994.
Mr Bulmer, 80, who was MP for Kidderminster between 1974 and 1983, said: ‘We thought they were lost for ever so we’re thrilled to have them back.’
His wife Susie added: ‘We strongly believe a small minority of the officers we came into contact with just thought we were rich poshos who’d get the money back from the insurance company anyway.’
Two of the 15 paintings are regarded as important works. Endymion by George Frederick Watts – one of the driving forces behind the Symbolist movement – is said to be worth £1 million. The other, Apple Blossom, is regarded as among British artist Sir George Clausen’s finest works.
During the raid on their home in Bruton, Somerset, in March 2009, a gang of five masked men left the couple’s housekeeper bound and gagged for 18 hours. ‘They threatened to pour bleach over her unless she told them where my car key was,’ Mrs Bulmer said.
Some of the gang made off with the 15 paintings while the others loaded the boot of the Bulmers’ Mercedes with a safe containing £1 million of jewellery that has yet to be recovered.
As the years passed and police enquiries failed to yield any leads, the couple turned to private art investigators. 
One of them, Dick Ellis,( of  QUINTONS FARM HOUSE GROVE LANE ASHFIELD STOWMARKET IP146LZ) said: ‘What was very apparent to me was that the robbers had a very good understanding of the layout of the property and good knowledge of the Bulmers themselves. It was very well planned and orchestrated.’
He said his first move was to place an advert in the Antiques Trade Gazette, offering a £50,000 reward for information.
In June this year, Mr Ellis received a phone call from Mr Hill to say that ‘he had been contacted and told that someone he knew, knew somebody else, who knew somebody else who had information’. What followed was a period of tense negotiation. Mr Ellis said: ‘It is not an easy process. But you can be assured that the money went to those whose information led to the recovery, not the raiders themselves.’
Before the money was wire-transferred, Mr Ellis had to authenticate the pictures at a secret location and the Bulmers were finally given the good news two weeks ago. 
Mr Bulmer, who is thought to have sold his stake in Bulmers for £84 million in 2003, said: ‘The works are undergoing forensic analysis.
‘It would be justice indeed if the fantastic techniques now developed by scientists put these people in the dock and behind bars.’
Avon and Somerset Police said: ‘We are very pleased that the paintings have been restored to their rightful owners. Our investigation into the theft is still ongoing.’

Cider magnate offers £50,000 reward for art
By This is Somerset  |  Posted: February 12, 2010
A cider magnate is offering a £50,000 reward for the safe return of artwork stolen in a dramatic raid on his Somerset home last year.
Esmond Bulmer, of the famous Bulmer cider dynasty, lost £2 million worth of fine art when masked intruders forced their way into his home in Bruton, near Shepton Mallet.
The 74-year-old is desperate for the return of the valuable artwork, which includes Endymion by George Frederic Watts – which alone could be worth up to £1m – and Apple Blossom by George Clausen.
During the raid on The Pavilion in The Redlynch Estate, the burglars tied up house-sitter Deborah Barnjum with an electrical cord, before stealing a total of 16 paintings.
Ms Barnjum, 47, was not found until 4pm the following day, March 21. She was bruised and shaken but otherwise uninjured.
Mr Bulmer, a former Tory MP, and his wife Susan were on holiday in Barbados at the time.
Other stolen pieces include An Italian Peasant Boy by Richard Buckner, A grey pony in a stormy landscape by James Ward and John Anthony Park’s St Ives.
Richard Ellis,( of  QUINTONS FARM HOUSE GROVE LANE ASHFIELD STOWMARKET IP146LZ) director of the Art Management Group and a former detective at Scotland Yard, said: “These paintings are not saleable on the open market.
“They have all been placed on the Art Loss register and would be very difficult to shift through dealers.
It is conceivable they could have been used as a commodity to exchange for drugs or as collateral for other criminal operations.
“Clausen was a prominent British artist and a member of the academy. Apple Blossom is an oil on canvas which is signed and dated 1899 on the reverse. The most high value painting is the Watts oil on canvas. I would estimate this is worth £800,000 to £1m.”
A further £1m of jewellery was taken in the raid. The gang used the Bulmer’s Mercedes 220 car as a getaway vehicle.
Speaking at the time of the burglary, Mr Bulmer said: “Some of the items were of high monetary value but others were of sentimental value to me as they were the first pieces I bought.
“The most important thing is to catch these men for what they did to Deborah. These people are animals.”
The £50,000 reward is being offered for the arrest and conviction of the offenders and recovery of the undamaged fine art.
Detective Inspector Jim Bigger of the Somerset East Public Protection Unit said: “This is a substantial reward, however I do not see this a simple recovery exercise for the paintings, I am focused on the facts that the paintings may lead me to the persons responsible for committing this extremely violent crime, a crime which resulted in my victim being tied up for 18 hours. That is my objective.”
Anyone with any information on the incident or the whereabouts of the paintings is asked to contact police on 0845 456 7000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via
Art Hostage Comments:
There are two ways to look at this recovery.

First of all, lets be clear, this was not a simple art theft by colourful, charismatic art thieves, but a violent, armed robbery, whereby an innocent female was assaulted, tied up and left for twenty four hours before she was discovered. 
Any notion that this was a Thomas Crown Affair type glamorous art heist must be dispelled and the fact Dick Ellis has shown his true colours by demonstrating his greed and total disregard for the law, should not be underestimated.

Dick Ellis has for the last two decades pontificated about the vital need to obtain a so called "Comfort Letter of Approval" from Police before any stolen art can be recovered and a reward or fee be paid. 
Dick Ellis has always stated clearly that failure to do so would result in arrest and possible criminal charges, especially since the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act. 
Why, when Charlie Hill recovered the stolen Titian from Longleat back in 2002, 
see link:  

without any Comfort letter of approval from Police, Dick Ellis was the most critical and subsequently Charlie Hill was black-balled by the insurance industry and slimy Dick Ellis stepped into Charlie Hill's shoes.
Since then Dick Ellis has harped on about the need to obtain permission from Police and always involve Police in stolen art recoveries.
Now, some 13 years later, we are led to believe Dick Ellis has gone off the reservation and recovered the Bulmer paintings without any Comfort letter of approval from Police, and to make matters worse, Dick Ellis was given a preview viewing of the Bulmer paintings before the ransom money was wire- transferred to the handlers.
Surely this breaks all conventions and even the 2002 Proceeds of Crime act and therefore Dick Ellis should be arrested, along with Charlie Hill and the Bulmers for breaking the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act?
On the other hand, it will be interesting to see if there are any arrests as Police at the time of theft said this would not be a simple case of recovery and the reward offered clearly stated that it would only be paid if there were arrests and convictions, see above.

The reward was paid to persons outside the UK, attempting to bypass strict UK money laundering laws and Police are said to be unhappy at this stage.

However, this may not be the end as Dick Ellis is renowned for his double crossing of those who engage with him with his infamous sting in the long tail operation. The reward came directly from the victim, former Tory MP Esmond Bulmer, as the insurance company would not agree to pay out a reward if there were no arrests. Whether any laws have been broken remains to be seen.

Dick Ellis has revealed himself to be nothing more than a hypocritical, dishonest, Carpetbagger and has lost all credibility.

More to follow..................................

Police investigating Hatton Garden heist raid millionaire scrap metal dealer's flat

Officers spent two hours searching the businessman’s home at an exclusive address overlooking the Thames

Heist: The Hatton Garden safe which was burgled in April 2015
Police investigating the £10million Hatton Garden gems heist have raided a millionaire scrap metal dealer’s flat.
Officers spent two hours searching the businessman’s home at an exclusive address overlooking the Thames.
The swoop was carried out a day before four men accused of being involved in the London burglary last April pleaded guilty at a court hearing.
Forensics teams conducted a fingertip search of the dealer’s home where neighbours include Premier League footballers.
The owner - who we are not identifying for legal reasons - was not arrested but we can reveal he runs a South East-based international scrap firm.
A source said: “There were plain clothes detectives, uniformed officers, forensics and police photographers.
“It seemed to be a case of leaving no stone unturned. The team even asked for advice from the building management on how to remove panels from the flat they were searching.
“The guy who lives in the flat was there when the police were searching, but he wasn’t taken away. He left of his own accord just afterwards and we haven’t seen him since.”
Metropolitan Police
Gulity: Four of the men charged with the Hatton Garden heist pleaded guilty on Friday
The Tower St George’s Wharf overlooks the River Thames and boasts 52 floors, one of which is used entirely for an infinity pool.
The flats are also home to mega-rich Russian and Saudi businessmen, and top city bankers. A series of gleaming sports cars and 4x4s are parked in the block’s high security underground car park.
And the block’s concierge service offers delivery of items from Harrods.
A local said: “That tower is one of the most high end places to live in the world. It is extraordinary to have police here - especially in these sort of numbers.”
On Friday four of the nine men accused over Hatton Garden entered guilty pleas during a hearing at Woolwich Crown Court, south east London.
A gang broke into the underground vault of the Hatton Garden Safety Deposit during the Easter bank holiday in one of Britain’s most shocking heists.
Police were alerted to the burglary just after 8am on Tuesday 7 April, after the Bank Holiday weekend. Detectives faced criticism for not having picked up the raid earlier.
Pictures later released by police showed holes had been drilled into the vault’s wall, before valuables were ransacked from more than 70 deposit boxes.
At Friday’s hearing John Collins, 74, of Islington, north London; Daniel Jones, 58, and Terry Perkins, 67, both of Enfield, north London; and Brian Reader, 76, of Dartford, Kent, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle with intent to steal.
Five other men still face trial for conspiring to commit the burglary.
Hugh Doyle, 48, of Enfield, ; William Lincoln, 60, of Bethnal Green, east London; and John Harbinson, 42, of, Benfleet, Essex, have denied conspiracy and laundering and face trial later.
Paul Reader, 50, of, Dartford, and Carl Wood, 58, of Cheshunt, Herts, are yet to enter pleas .
A Met Police spokesman said: “Officers searched a residential address in Vauxhall on Thursday, 3 September as part of the investigation into the burglary at Hatton Garden. The search has been completed. No arrests.”