Just a week after a Qing Dynasty jade bowl and glaze sculpture worth £1.8 million disappeared from Durham University Oriental Museum, 18 Chinese artefacts have been lifted from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Police said that the break-in occurred last Friday at about 7.30 pm, and involved several people.
Most of the stolen pieces were jades, and include a Ming Dynasty 16th carved buffalo, a 17th century carved horse and a carved elephant. An 18th century vase and jug, a table screen from the Qianlong period, eight Qing Dynasty pieces, as well as a jade cup, and brush washer were also taken.
"These works are a highly important part of our collection and their loss is a great blow," said a museum spokesman. Although the value of the items has not been released, they are believed to be worth millions of pounds.
"The items stolen are very valuable and are of great cultural significance, so we are absolutely committed to recovering them and bringing those who stole them to justice," said Detective Chief Superintendent Karen Daber, who is leading the police investigation "Operation Tundra."
"While this is an exceptional crime that we are taking very seriously, it is also worth remembering that this type of offence is extremely rare," she added.
Ms Daber declined to comment on whether the Durham and Cambridge thefts might be linked.