Gang found guilty of £57m plot to steal rhino horn and artefacts

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Fourteen men linked to an organised crime gang have been convicted of plotting to steal rhino horn and Chinese artefacts worth up to £57 million in a series of museum and auction house raids. 

A jury today convicted four of the gang's "generals" who helped to plan and oversee a string of offences, including break-ins at Cambridge's Fitzwilliam Museum and Durham's Oriental Museum in 2012.

John "Kerry" O'Brien Junior, Richard "Kerry" O'Brien, Michael Hegarty and Daniel "Turkey" O'Brien were found guilty after a trial which could not be reported because of similar offences committed by travelling criminals dubbed the "Rathkeale Rovers".

The two-month trial at Birmingham Crown Court heard that ten other men had previously been convicted for their parts in the conspiracy, which included a bungled attempt to steal a rhino head from Norwich Castle Museum in February 2012.

Although jurors heard that exhibits stolen in Durham and Cambridge were valued at around £17 million, detectives believe they may have fetched up to £57 million on the "booming" Chinese auction market.