Fitzwilliam Museum £18m theft: Appeal posters and hotline set up

Art theft appeal poster Police hope posters will help the investigation into the theft of art from the museum

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Two weeks after Chinese art was stolen from a Cambridge Museum, police have distributed appeal posters and set up a dedicated hotline for information.

The 18 mainly jade items are thought to be worth at least £18m and were taken from the city's Fitzwilliam Museum at around 19:30 BST on 13 April.

Police believe up to four offenders used a white van in the raid which took "a matter of minutes".

The posters show the van police believe could be "vital" to the investigation.

The white VW Caddy van is thought to have been stolen from Ellesmere Street in Tower Hamlets, east London, at about 08:30 BST on 7 April.

'Vital clues'

Det Ch Supt Karen Daber, of Cambridgeshire Police, said: "We know there were a number of people in the area at the time of the burglary on 13 April and we hope this latest appeal will help us trace further witnesses.

"It is vital we trace this van as it may hold vital clues in connection with this burglary."

CCTV showed the van arriving in Grove Lane in Cambridge at 19.26 BST on Friday 13 April where it was parked for several minutes.

Jade horse, Ming Dynasty,. from Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge A 17th Century jade horse from the Ming dynasty was one of 18 items taken by the thieves

It then appeared on a camera on Trumpington Street, close to Hotel Du Vin, at 19.38 BST, leaving the city.

Ports and airports have been alerted in a bid to prevent the artefacts, which included six pieces from the Ming dynasty, leaving the country.

A police hotline has been set up to the 25-strong team working on the investigation.

Mrs Daber urged anyone with information to call them on 01480 428066, or to call Crimestoppers anonymously.

Cambridgeshire Police have confirmed they are not linking the Fitzwilliam theft to a break-in earlier this month at the Oriental Museum at Durham University, where Chinese jade and porcelain items were also stolen.

They have also confirmed they are not currently linking the theft to an attempted break-in at the Museum of East Asian Art in Bath on Tuesday.

However, a spokesman said they were "engaging with colleagues in Bath to explore whether there are any links between our offence and theirs".

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