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

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.

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