Third man arrested after museum break-in

editorial image
Have your say

A THIRD man wanted by police in connection with the £2million break-in at Durham’s Oriental Museum has handed himself in.

The incident saw thieves smash a hole in the wall of Oriental Museum in Elvet Hill, Durham, and snatched a jade bowl and a porcelain ornament, both dating back to the Qing Dynasty.

On Tuesday night this week BBC’s Crimewatch programme displayed a photo of Justin Oliver Clarke, a 31-year-old man from the Walsall area of the West Midlands as detectives appealed for information on his whereabouts.

They wished to trace him as part of their enquiries.

This morning Clarke travelled to the North East and attended Durham police office, where he was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit burglary.

A further three people – two women and one man – remain in custody after having been arrested on Tuesday evening in Walsall.

Yesterday, Lee Wildman appeared before court to face a charge of conspiracy, together with others, to commit burglary at the Durham University-run museum between March 20 and April 6.

The break-in happened on the night of Thursday, April 5, with the items recovered eight days later from a field in the Brandon area of the city.

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard Wildman, 35, was arrested at a hotel in the Walsall area of the West Midlands, around four miles away from his home in Remington Road of the town.

No pleas were entered and application for bail made by his solicitor Sarbjot Lilli was turned down by District Judge Kristina Harrison, with Wildman remanded in custody to appear before Durham Crown Court on Wednesday May 9.

Police arrested Adrian Stanton, 32, on suspicion of the offence at the same time as Wildman was re-arrested following his questioning in the aftermath of the theft.

Two women, aged 27 and 19, also present at the hotel, were also arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

All three remain in custody today.

A 27-year-old man arrested in connection with the investigation has been released with no further action to be taken, with two other men and a woman on bail until next month as inquiries continue.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham