SIX people have admitted their part in the theft of rare artefacts from Durham University’s Oriental Museum.
The gang, from Walsall in the West Midlands, smashed a hole in the wall of the museum in Elvet Hill and snatched a jade bowl and porcelain ornament valued at £2million.
Police used CCTV footage and number plate recognition cameras to track the gang, first to Meadowfield on the outskirts of Durham City and then to Walsall.
The stolen ornaments were found by a member of the public under bushes on waste ground at Browney, a small settlement near Durham City.
They had been lying unwrapped for eight days.
At Durham Crown Court yesterday, Adrian Stanton, 32, of Telford Road and Lee Wildman 35, of Remmington Road, admitted conspiracy to burgle between January 1 and April 6.
Justin Oliver Clarke, 32, of Tamar Close, admitted two charges of assisting an offender.
The court heard he was in Durham when the theft took place on April 5 and helped the others by driving cars.
Fallon Arrowsmith, 19, of Walker Road, Charmaine Wilkes, 27, of Cornwall Close, and Natasha Partridge, 21, of Remmington Place, also admitted assisting an offender, between April 5 and May 11.
Judge Paul Sloan adjourned the case for pre-sentence reports and told the gang: “You will all have been advised that the circumstances of this case make custody extremely likely.”
Stanton and Wildman were remanded in custody. The other four were bailed to return to the court to be dealt with on August 31.