When a burglary of antiques from a large house is reported through the media where particular items of value are stolen, it would suggest that the thieves either know the house and its contents well, or can make quick decisions on what are the most valuable, portable and saleable items to take.
The stealing of antiques does not therefore seem to be the spontaneous act of a passing thief, but in all probability that of a burglary ring, where the choice of items stolen has been the basis for plenty of preparation and thought. The uniqueness of the antique, whether it is a small valuable antique desk or clock, would make it difficult to sell on through local auction houses where these items would be recognised easily. So the thieves would have connections outside the area where there are efficient networks of fences on hand to find buyers for the stolen items.
Recently a highly organised Cheltenham based gang of antiques thieves were finally caught after Gloucestershire police had been tracking them for some years. Their final haul after raiding many large houses in the area, ran into tens of millions of pounds. Much of their haul was never found suggesting that items had either been hidden across the country or passed on. Of those items that were eventually found, many priceless antiques had suffered damaged. The prosecution referred to them as an ‘extensive and highly organised gang’ and the judge sentencing them regarded the case as ‘one of the most serious examples of conspiracy to burgle ever to come before the court’.
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