Police 'discovered Aladdin's cave of antiques' - court

POLICE officers who went to a lock-up rented by a window fitter discovered an Aladdin's cave of antiques which had been stolen during a string of burglaries across Suffolk and Essex, it has been alleged.

Jane Hunt

POLICE officers who went to a lock-up rented by a window fitter discovered an Aladdin's cave of antiques which had been stolen during a string of burglaries across Suffolk and Essex, it has been alleged.

The items, which included paintings, furniture, ornaments and jewellery worth thousands of pounds, were categorised and listed by police and many were subsequently identified by the victims of 16 burglaries between November 2007 and November last year, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Before the court is window fitter Ian Ling, 58, of Harrier Way, Stowmarket, who has denied going equipped for burglary, being in possession of criminal property and 16 offences of burglary.


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Also in the dock is Clive Clark, 39, of Tollgate Lane, Bury St Edmunds, who has denied one offence of going equipped for burglary with Ling in November last year.

Joanne Eley, prosecuting, told the court that Ling and Clark were arrested by police during the evening of November 7 last year in the grounds of Thorington Hall, near Blythburgh, after the owners' daughter reported seeing someone run past a window.

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When officers arrived at the 50 acre estate they found a vehicle parked near the driveway and spotted two men walking around outside the hall.

Thirty minutes later the men came back down the drive towards the A12 and were arrested by police who had been lying in wait for them, said Miss Eley.

She said the men were dressed in black and a search of their vehicle revealed some large bags, wire, tape, glass cutting equipment, a crowbar, a torch and a screwdriver.

The men were later released on police bail and nearly a month later on December 2 a policeman detained Ling for a search after seeing him sitting in a van which he suspected contained stolen furniture, said Miss Eley.

Police eventually located a lock up rented by Ling on a farm at Stonham Aspal and inside it discovered further items of stolen property.

Miss Eley said the properties allegedly burgled by Ling were Thorington Hall; Street Farm, Earl Soham; Tudor Grange, Nettlestead; White House, Yoxford; Woodholme, Bacton; St Vulcan's House, Wenhaston; The Grange, Haughley; Moses Farm, Little Maplestead, near Halstead; Bell Cottage, Dedham, and a depot in Knightsdale Road, Ipswich.

She said that further properties including Manor Farm, Coddenham, The Old Vicarage, Yoxford, and Glebe House, Stratford St Mary, were each allegedly burgled on two occasions.

After his arrest Ling said he had been going to auctions and car boot sales for a number of years and had bought items in good faith.

He denied knowing anything about the alleged burglaries.

He claimed that on the night he and Clarke were arrested at Thorington Hall they had been out for a drive to see when a car boot sale was being held at Friday Street.

He needed to go to the toilet and had walked round for five minutes to find a suitable place.

Clarke said they had walked round the outside of the house out of interest and didn't think they were doing anything wrong.

The trial which is expected to last the rest of the month continues today (Tues).

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