Jail for ‘inept’ British thieves who lost Chinese artefacts
Two thieves who stole Chinese artefacts worth millions of pounds from a British museum and promptly lost them were handed lengthy jail sentences on Friday.
Lee Wildman, 36, was jailed for nine years and 33-year-old Adrian Stanton was handed an eight-year term for their raid on the Oriental Museum in Durham, northwest England, on April 5 last year.
They made off with a jade bowl and a porcelain figurine, together worth US$3.2 million, and hid them on wasteland – but Wildman could not find them when he returned two days later, Durham Crown Court heard.
Judge Christopher Prince told the pair, who are from Walsall in central England, that they had shown “crass ineptitude” in losing their haul.
The items were later recovered after a witness realised she had seen Wildman frantically searching the area.
“The financial value of artefacts such as these is perhaps the very least important factor,” said the judge.
“These items have got a historical, cultural and artistic value that is quite simply immeasurable.”
He added that Wildman and Stanton had shown no remorse during their two-day hearing.