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£2m Chinese Treasure Heist Was Over In One Minute, Police Say

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Police have named two men wanted in connection with a well-planned raid on a museum that was over in minutes and in which treasures worth more than £2 million were taken.

Detectives want to trace Lee Wildman, also known as Jason Green, who has already been arrested and bailed following the theft of two Chinese artefacts from Durham University's Oriental Museum on Thursday night.

Detective Superintendent Adrian Green named the other man he wanted to speak to as Adrian Stanton.

Both men are from the West Midlands, the detective leading a 40-strong team said.

"We want to speak to them about this burglary and they will be able to help us with our inquiries," he said.

The thieves that broke into the museum to steal Chinese treasures worth £2m were in and out in as little as one minute, Green added.

The raiders spent 40 minutes creating a hole in an outside wall of the museum before making straight for an 18th century jade bowl and a Dehua porcelain figurine.

Five people from the West Midlands have already been arrested in connection with the incident but the items, which are thought to have been stolen to order, have not been recovered.

The 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, and their total value is estimated at around £2m.

Green believes the burglars spent between one and two minutes in the museum once they forced their way in.

Three of the missing artefacts, which disappeared overnight

"It seems very clear that this was a well-planned, highly organised break-in. They have spent around 40 minutes creating a hole in an outside wall and, when it has been big enough, they have entered the gallery and made straight for these two items," he said.

"I am sure this job has been planned for quite some time and I would think the artefacts have been stolen to order, for someone who has already identified a potential market."

One man, a 27-year-old from Walsall in the West Midlands, was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and is being held at a police station in County Durham.

Four other people from the same area - men aged 56, 41 and 36 and a 34-year-old woman - were arrested at the weekend on suspicion of conspiracy to commit burglary.

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