Blenheim Palace burglar admits stealing £4.8m golden toilet in stately home break-in

2 April 2024, 17:49 | Updated: 2 April 2024, 19:58

A man has pleaded guilty to stealing a £4.8m golden toilet from Blenheim Palace.

In September 2019, the 18-carat loo vanished from the estate in Oxfordshire, where it had been displayed as an art piece called 'America'.

The toilet was installed in Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, as part of Italian concept artist Maurizio Cattelan's first solo exhibition in 20 years.

Thames Valley Police previously charged four men, and now one has pleaded guilty, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

James Sheen, 39, from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, pleaded guilty to burglary, converting or transferring criminal property and conspiracy to do the same, at Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday.

Sheen appeared in court via a video link from HMP Five Wells where he is already serving a 17-year sentence for a string of thefts.

His past crimes include stealing £400,000 worth of tractors and trophies from the National Horse Racing Museum.

Three other men have pleaded not guilty to charges related to the theft.

Michael Jones, 38, from Oxford, is accused of burglary.

Frederick Sines, aka Frederick Doe, from Ascot, Berkshire, and Bora Guccuck, 40, of west London, are both accused of conspiracy to transfer criminal property.

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The men are due to go on trial on 24 February 2025.