Somerset

Bulmers art theft: Charges dropped against all defendants

Endymion Image copyright georgefredericwatts.org
Image caption A total of 15 paintings were stolen, including Endymion by George Frederic Watts

A trial relating to the theft of millions of pounds worth of art from the home of the Bulmers cider family has been dropped, prosecutors said.

Fifteen paintings and a safe containing £400,000 worth of jewellery were taken from the Somerset home of Esmond and Susie Bulmer in March 2009.

During the raid, the couple's house-sitter was hooded and tied to banisters by burglars wearing balaclavas.

Former MP Mr Bulmer said he was "deeply disappointed" by the decision.

Image caption Mr Bulmer said he was "deeply disappointed" by the decision not to go for a retrial against the remaining defendants.

In 2018 11 men went on trial in Bristol in connection with the burglary and an alleged insurance fraud.

A number of charges were subsequently thrown out by Judge Julian Lambert, a decision upheld by the Court of Appeal in February this year.

Now the CPS has decided not to go for a second trial on the remaining counts saying there is "no longer a realistic prospect of conviction" and offered no evidence in the case.

Mr Bulmer gave his reaction saying he was "deeply disappointed".

"The original investigation was seriously flawed," he said.

"The chief constable admits that and has come to apologise."

In a statement, Avon and Somerset Police said it accepted the CPS's decision to offer no evidence against the defendants in that case.

All but one of the paintings taken in 2009 have been recovered.

Image caption The Bulmer's were away from their mansion, The Pavilions, in Bruton when the burglary took place.

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