Gang charged with plotting to steal artefacts from museums across the country – including Durham University

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THIRTEEN men have been charged with stealing valuable artefacts from museums in a string of raids.

The group are accused of conspiracy to steal in connection with crimes in which museums and auction houses across England were targeted over a four-month period in 2012.

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

Daniel O’Brien, 44, of Orchard Drive, Smithy Fen, Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, was arrested this week.

The other 12 are currently on bail, to appear at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on November 25.

They are: Alan Clarke, 26, of Newham, London; Ashley Dad, 34, of Wolverhampton; Michael Hegarty, 42, of Smithy Fen; John O’Brien, 67, of Wolverhampton; John O’Brien, 25, of Smithy Fen; Richard O’Brien, 29, of Dale Farm, Essex; Paul Pammen, 48, of Southend-on-Sea; Richard Sheridan, 46, of Smithy Fen; Chi Chong Donald Wong, 55, of Lambeth, London; Patrick Clarke, 32, of Melbourne Road, London; Terrence McNamara, 45, of Belfast; and Robert Gilbert, 26, of HMP Lewes.