Museum accused trial date

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A TRIAL date has been set for five people accused of being involved in the theft of rare artefacts from Durham University’s Oriental Museum.

It’s now unlikely the jade bowl and porcelain ornament – valued at £2million – will be returned to the museum before the end of October because the items will be needed as exhibits in the trial.

Three men from Walsall are accused of conspiracy to burgle, and two women from the same West Midlands town are accused of assisting an offender, Durham Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Gale Gilchrist told the court the two-week trial could start on October 8. Charges are expected to be put at the next hearing on July 26.

The incident took place on April 5 when a hole was cut in the wall of the museum in Elvet Hill, Durham City.

The stolen items were found undamaged under a bush on wasteground in Meadowfield, on the outskirts of Durham.

Lee Wildman, 35, of Remington Road, and Adrian Stanton, 32, of Telford Road, were remanded in custody.

Fallon Arrowsmith, 19, of Walker Road, and Charmaine Wilkes, 27, of Cornwall Close, were bailed.

Justin Clarke, 31, of Tamar Close, appeared in custody, but was granted bail by Recorder Ian Atherton after a bail application was made by Clarke’s barrister, Andrew Frymann.

Clarke must observe a night-time curfew and report to his local police station three times a week.