British police have recovered a haul of antiques worth £5 million hidden in the garages of gang members. The loot came from raids on England’s stately homes.
Among the 14 pieces found in Leeds and Tanerksely, Yorkshire, were a £1.3 million porcelain collection and a £500,000 Chippendale table.
The items may have been taken from Newby Hall and Sion Hill in North Yorkshire, and Firle Place in Sussex, owned by the family of the Old Master dealer Deborah Gage, according to police.
A few of the pieces suffered minor damage. As many as 21 major thefts at stately homes since 2007 have been carried out by gangs. Many of the stolen items may have already made it to mainland Europe.
"...recent trends indicate that these types of high-value items are actually being used by organised crime groups as currency or collateral in relation to serious criminality, often involving drugs," said Detective Superintendent Steve Waite, head of regional intelligence for West Yorkshire Police.