Sunday, April 15, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Durham Treasures Homeward Bound

Durham University Oriental Museum treasures recovered

Chinese artefacts worth almost £2m that were stolen from a University of Durham museum have been recovered by police. It had been feared they had been taken out of the country but were recovered in Brandon, south west of Durham, where they had been hidden.

Thieves cut a 3ft-wide hole in the wall of the university's Oriental Museum and stole a bowl and figurine. Durham Police said it was almost certainly a well planned operation.

A police spokeswoman said both artefacts had now been recovered.

Officers have arrested five people in connection with the theft. Two men are still being sought.

Durham University said the museum would reopen on Monday.

The stolen bowl dates from 1769 and has a Chinese poem written inside, while the figurine is of seven fairies in a boat and stands about 12in (30cm) high. Both are from the Qing Dynasty, China's last imperial dynasty.

Security at the museum is being reviewed.

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