Gang Deny Museum Thefts
23 March 2015, 17:11 | Updated: 23 March 2015, 17:18
Five men from Cambridgeshire have denied being part of a series of high-value thefts from UK museums.
The five, along with six others were charged at Birmingham Crown Court with conspiracy to steal as part of a national investigation into high-value museum thefts.
One man, Robert Gilbert Smith, 27, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to the charges and another two, Alan Clarke, 36, and Patrick Clarke, 32, both of Melbourne Road, Newham, London, will appear at Birmingham Crown Court on April 20 to make their pleas.
Twelve of the men, aged between 25 and 67, were arrested in a series of warrants across the UK and Ireland in 2013 by police forces and the National Crime Agency.
The 13th, Daniel O'Brien, 44, of Orchard Drive, Smithy Fen, Cottenham in Cambridgeshire, was arrested in November last year and the 14th, Danny Flynn, 44 of the same address was arrested on European arrest warrant in Dublin in January this year.
The men are charged in connection with a series of crimes over a four-month period at museums and auction houses across England.
Chinese artefacts and rhinoceros horns were targeted in seven incidents - including at Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
Two trial dates have been set for Birmingham Crown Court, the first on May 11 which is expected to last for eight weeks, and the second on September 21 which is expected to last for six weeks.
The five Cambridgeshire defendants, all of whom are from Cottenham are:-
- Danny Flynn (44), Orchard Drive, Smithy Fen
- Michael Hegarty (42), Orchard Drive, Smithy Fen
- Daniel 'Turkey' O'Brien (44), Orchard Drive, Smithy Fen
- John 'Kerry' O'Brien (25), Orchard Drive, Smithy Fen
- Richard Sheridan (46), Water Lane, Smithy Fen