Coins and medals stolen from Derby Museum

Museum thefts could have been carried out with "inside knowledge"
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Rebecca Atkinson
More than £53,000 worth of coins, medals and watches were stolen from Derby Museum and Art Gallery last month in a case that police said could have been carried out with “inside knowledge”.

The items were stolen from the museum’s storage facility between 2 May and 19 July, but the theft came to light only following a request from another museum to borrow some of the items. There were no signs of a break-in.

Meanwhile, a 16th-century Grès de Flandres pot and a 17th-century bartmankrug have been stolen from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. They were on open display at Nash’s House & New Place.

In Eastbourne, a reward of £2,000 is being offered for the return of military items stolen from the Redoubt Fortress and Military Museum.

The war artefacts, which are valued at more than £16,000 and include a Russian bugle from the Charge of the Light Brigade, were stolen during a night raid on the museum on 3 July.

John Minary, a former detective and now director of museum security consultancy Osprey Heritage Management, said the sector was not prioritising security.

“Until security is treated as a core management function, and not a bolt-on or reaction to crime, then we will continue to see thefts from museums.”

Eighteen Chinese artworks stolen from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge earlier this year have yet to be recovered, although four men who pleaded guilty to the theft are due to be sentenced this month.

In Norwich, a third man arrested over the attempted theft of a rhino horn from Norwich Castle Museum has been charged.

One of the men has been jailed for two-and-a-half years for attempted theft.

Elsewhere, the New York Times has reported that a stolen early atlas of the Americas was recovered by Sweden’s Royal Library after it was offered for sale by a New York map dealer.

The atlas was one of many rare books and manuscripts stolen over a period of years by senior librarian Anders Burius. He was caught in 2004 and subsequently killed himself.

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