Sussex art raid "part of nationwide spree"
An expert investigator believes a £1 million art heist at a Sussex stately home was part of a nationwide series carried out by the same gang.
Dick Ellis, former head of the Scotland Yard art and antiques unit, has included the raid at Firle Place in July last year in a list of major crimes he believes were committed by the same criminals.
Firle Place, the home of millionaire landowner Viscount Gage, was targeted on July 19 last year.
Burglars stole 20 pieces including rare Sevres porcelain.
Police said at the time the pieces were worth £1m.
Mr Ellis estimated their value at £500,000, according a piece in The Art Newspaper.
Mr Ellis was reported as saying three gangs are responsible for up to 36 crimes, including 21 burglaries.
He said the response of police forces is weakened if crimes take place in different areas of the country.
Paul Hendry, author of crime blog Art Hostage, has criticised Sussex Police’s response to the burglary.
He claims police had been told Firle Place was the target of a previous, cancelled burglary attempt in January last year, but failed to act on the information.
When contacted by The Argus earlier this year Sussex Police refused to comment publicly.
A spokesman said: “We are not able to discuss whether or not specific prior intelligence has been received about any specific offence.”
Mr Hendry said the art underworld refers to the stolen porcelain as “volcanic Ash” because it is “so hot it is radioactive”.
He is publicly calling on both police and the Firle Place burglars to arrange for the safe return of the porcelain.
He said: “I’m the only man in Europe who wants the volcanic Ash to come back.
“The issue is to receive the Firle Place porcelain undamaged.
“The best way to achieve that is for an anonymous phonecall to Sussex Police for a location to be given where the police can attend and recover the porcelain intact and return it to its rightful home.”
Anyone with information should phone Sussex Police on 08456070999.Art Hostage Comments:
Please see backstory to this case linked below:
Watch todays Crimwatch Roadshow about Firle Place raid:
So, having watched today's Crimewatch Roadshow and the performance of Tricky Dick Ellis the message is clear.
Please contact Sussex Police or the crimewatch roadshow programme anonymously with a location where the Firle Place porcelain can be recovered.
Make sure you give clear details of where, so Police can attend quickly and safely to recover these unique artworks for the benefit of the public, yes that's right, its the public who loose out here.
Viscount Gage is only the custodian of these unique items of porcelain therefore he or his family have no financial gain other than the £1 million insurance payout which serves no purpose as the items cannot be replaced.
Whatever the ordinary game of Cat and Mouse played by art thieves, stolen art handlers and others, against Police, Insurance companies, collectors, The Aristocracy or legitimate dealers, this is a case of the stolen porcelain needs to go back, right here right now.
Please make the call to any of the numbers below and lets see this story have a happy ending.
No need to give any names, no need for arrests, just a simple call to locate the Firle Place Porcelain.
It has been done before, without any arrests, so make the annonomous call.
08000 468 999 or website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/crimewatchroadshow/
Sussex Police: o845-6070999
Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111 or website: http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/
As stated in the article on Monday in the Argus, the Underworld is referring to the Firle place Porcelain as "Volcanic Ash"
The honest desire of Art Hostage is to see the "Volcanic Ash" come back.
That desire is overwhelming, truly offering an Olive branch, extended with the deepest sincerity.
Forget Roll Back, or even Cash Back, all I want is Ash Back
However big the task........... together it can be surpassed.......... in a distinctive fashion, with Merit !!!!
Something breathtaking is cooking in the Stolen art arena, will leave all open-mouthed, quote is "Brace yourself"
(Tuesday June 22nd 2010, 10.00am GMT)