Gang of eleven deny stealing high value museum artefacts, including from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge

PUBLISHED: 16:37 23 March 2015 | UPDATED: 17:04 23 March 2015

One of the stolen items

One of the stolen items

Archant

A gang of fourteen men from Cambridgeshire, Ireland, the Midlands and London face charges of conspiracy to steal thousands of pounds worth of artefacts from museums across the country.

One of the stolen items One of the stolen items

The gang appeared at Birmingham Crown Court as part of a national investigation into high-value museum thefts.

The men are charged in connection with a series of crimes over a four-month period at museums and auction houses across England, including items stolen from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Chinese artefacts and rhinoceros horns were targeted in seven incidents – two thefts and an attempted theft from Durham University Oriental Museum and further incidents at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Gorringes Auction House in East Sussex, Norwich Castle Museum in Norfolk and the Powell Cotton Museum in Kent.

Two trial dates have been set for Birmingham Crown Court, the first on May 11 which is expected to last for eight weeks, and the second on September 21 which is expected to last for six weeks.

One of the stolen items One of the stolen items

Twelve of the men, aged between 25 and 67, were arrested in a series of warrants across the UK and Ireland in 2013 by police forces and the National Crime Agency.

Daniel O’Brien, 44, of Orchard Drive, Smithy Fen, Cottenham, was arrested in November last year and Danny Flynn, 44, of the same address was arrested on European arrest warrant in Dublin in January this year.

Charged from Smithy Fen, Cottenham, are Danny Flynn, 44, Michael Hegarty, 42, Daniel ‘Turkey’ O’Brien, 44, John ‘Kerry’ O’Brien, 25 and Richard Sheridan, 46.

From Melbourne Road, Newham London were Alan Clarke, 36, and Patrick Clarke, 32.

From the Midlands were John ‘Cash’ O’Brien, 67, of Fifth Avene, Wolverhampton, and Ashley Alan Dad, 34, of Crowther Road, Wolverhampton.

From Esssex were Richard ‘Kerry’ O’Brien, 30, of Oak Lane, Billericay, and Paul Pammen, 48, of Alton Gardens, Southend-on-Sea.

Also charged are Terrence McNamara, 46, of Marquis St, Belfast and Robert Gilbert Smith, 27, of HMP Lewis

Chi Chong Donald Wong – 55 (3.12.59), Clapham Common South Side, Lambeth, London.

The case is a national operation and not co-ordinated by Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

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