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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. 
) 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.
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.”