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Statement from Durham University

Durham University has no comment to make on the outcome of the trial of two men sentenced to jail after stealing precious chinese artefacts from a museum at Durham University, but they have released the following statement.

We are delighted that these important Qing dynasty artefacts were recovered quickly through the sterling efforts of Durham Police.

Both objects were undamaged, but require some conservation cleaning work as a result of the theft.

We look forward to having them back on display once the work is completed.”

– Dr Craig Barclay, Curator of Durham University's Oriental Museum

The items taken, which have a combined value of more than two million pounds, were:

  • A large green jade bowl (with wooden stand) dating from 1769, from the collection of Sir Charles Hardinge, a British collector of jades and hardstones. (A Chinese poem is written inside)
  • A Dehua porcelain sculpture of seven fairies in a boat.

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Forgetful thieves jailed over £2m lost haul

Thieves who stole Chinese artefacts worth £2 million, but hid them so well they couldn't find them again, have been jailed.

The scene of the robbery at Durham University
The scene of the robbery at Durham University Credit: PA Wire

36-year-old Lee Wildman and 33-year-old Adrian Stanton put a lot of thought into planning the theft at Durham University's Oriental Museum. They chose the night before Good Friday, used cloned number plates and chiselled a hole through a brick wall to get in and out quickly.

Adrian Stanton (left) and Lee Wildman
Adrian Stanton (left) and Lee Wildman Credit: PA Wire

But the men hid the stolen items on wasteland and when Lee Wildman went back, he couldn't find them. The Judge at Durham Crown Court said they had shown "crass ineptitude".

Get more on this story from ITV News Central.

Full Report: Chinese museum theft trial

A judge has ruled that two men were pivotal in a raid in which a hole was smashed through a museum wall, and precious chinese artifacts were stolen .

The burglary happened in April of last year at the Oriental museum at Durham University.

The court heard how one of the defendants, Wildman, had lost the valuable artefacts on wasteland - which the judge described as "utter stupidity."

Watch the full report from Frances Read below.

Judge rules men were "pivotal" to museum raid

A judge has ruled that two men accused of stealing items from a North East museum were pivotal in a raid which saw a hole smashed through a museum wall.

Precious chinese artefacts were stolen in the burglary at the Oriental Museum at Durham University that took place in April of last year.

Lee Wildman and Adrian Stanton had previously admitted conspiracy to burgle, but denied that it was them that had taken part in the break in.

The two men will be sentenced at Durham Crown Court tomorrow.

Watch the full report at 6 o'clock on tonight's programme.

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Charges in Oriental Museum theft

Four people have been charged in connection with thefts from Durham's Oriental Museum.

Adrian Stanton, 32, and Justin Clarke, 31, are both charged with conspiracy to commit burglary.

Charmane Wilkes, 27, and Fallon Arrowsmith, 19, have been charged with assisting an offender.

All four are set to appear at Peterlee Magistrates court. Artefacts worth around £2m were stolen from the museum last month but later recovered.

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