Six sentenced for Durham Oriental Museum burglary

08/02/2013

A criminal gang involved in stealing artefacts worth almost £2m from Durham University’s Oriental Museum were sentenced today, after pleading guilty at Durham Crown Court.

A total of six people were sentenced for offences relating to the theft of a Chinese bowl and figurine in a raid on April 5th of last year, during which a 3ft wide hole was cut in to the wall of the museum.

Lee Wildman, 36 and Adrian Mark Stanton, 33, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary. Wildman was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment with a further 12 months to run consecutively for a breach of a previous suspended sentence, bringing the total to 9 years. Stanton was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment.

Justin Oliver Clarke, 31, pleaded guilty to two counts of assisting an offender and was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment.

Fallon Alexandra Arrowsmith, 20, and Charmaine Wilkes, 27, pleaded guilty to one count of assisting an offender and were each sentenced to 6 months imprisonment suspended for 12 months, 200 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £250 towards prosecution costs.

Natasha Michelle Partridge, 21, also pleaded guilty to one count of assisting an offender and was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment suspended for 12 months, 200 hours of unpaid work and also ordered to pay £250 towards prosecution costs.

Kingsley Hyland, Head of the Complex Casework Unit at CPS North East, said: "Those sentenced today each played a part in a complex plot to steal pieces of significant value, both financially and culturally, from the public museum at which they were housed.

"The fact that all of the offenders pleaded guilty to their respective parts in this plot is testament to the strength of the prosecution case prepared against them."