Man Charged With Artefacts Theft

PA  |  Posted: 3/05/2012 08:48 Updated: 3/05/2012 08:59   PA

A 35-year-old man has been charged with conspiracy to commit burglary by police investigating the theft of Chinese artefacts worth more than £2 million in a raid on a university museum.

Lee Wildman was one of four people arrested yesterday evening in connection with the theft from Durham University's Oriental Museum on 5 April.

Durham Police said he is due to appear before magistrates in Peterlee, Co Durham, later today.

The raid last month involved burglars smashing a hole in the wall of a gallery at the museum, on Elvet Hill.

They made off with two artefacts from the Qing Dynasty - a solid jade bowl and an elaborate porcelain figurine - valued at more than £2 million.

The items were found in a field in Brandon, on the outskirts of the city, eight days after they were taken.

Yesterday evening officers from West Midlands Police, in liaison with detectives from Durham, arrested Wildman and another man they had been looking for - 32-year-old Adrian Stanton - at an address in the Boatman's Lane area of Walsall.

They also arrested two women, aged 27 and 19, who were at the same premises.

Wildman was one of four people arrested last month and released on bail pending further inquiries. Police later issued an appeal for help to find him again.

Stanton, who was also arrested for conspiracy to commit burglary, and the two women, who were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender, remain in custody in Durham.

Police have named a third man they wish to trace in connection with the museum raid.

Justin Oliver Clarke, 31, was featured on BBC's Crimewatch programme this week.

His last known whereabouts was in the Brownhills area of Walsall.

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Filed by Sam Parker  |