Lancashire’s stately homes had a lucky escape when thieves went on a lengthy stealing spree spanning more than two years. Instead it was North Yorkshire which was targeted. Now, 14 stolen treasures worth over £5m of have been recovered – including a piece of rare Chippendale antique marquetry furniture stolen from Newby Hall, Ripon.
Sion Hill Hall and Newby Hall are within easy reach of the Ribble Valley. Their antique desks, Victorian balloon back dining chairs and other treasures are a regular inspiration for lovers of fine furniture. However,
both – plus Firle Place in East Sussex – were targeted in a series of carefully planned raids dating back to 2007. Apart from the antique dining table – a Chippendale original commissioned by Newby Hall, and said to be worth at least £0.5m – the thefts included a £1.3million porcelain collection from Firle Place, and a Delander clock and figurines stolen from the H.W Mayer collection at Sion Hill. Louis XVI ormolu and Sevres bleu vases, worth £950,000, were also taken.
The 14 stolen items were recovered following a police investigation lasting 12 months, which culminated in the arrest of two men following lightning raids on lock-ups in Tankerley and Leeds. However, detectives fear many other stolen items may already be in mainland Europe.
It is thought the thieves “cased” likely targets, before gaining entrance via the window. Obviously, Lancashire antique desks are a less lucrative target than Meissen porcelain – but it has been known. If you need advice on protecting your valuables, ask an antique dealer in Preston. Their Victorian dining chairs are generally pretty burglar-proof!
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