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Gold torc worth hundreds of thousands of pounds stolen from Ely Museum

The torc weighs 730g of almost pure gold

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Ely Museum’s most prized possession – a gold torc worth hundreds of thousands of pounds – was stolen in a break in the early hours of today. Thieves got away with the torc and a gold bracelet, both dating from the Bronze Age. The museum acquired the torc in 2017 with a series of grants and donations from the public.

The torc is around 3,000 years old, measures 126cm and weighs 730g of almost pure gold.

It was found in Cambridgeshire by a metal detectorist in 2011 in a field.

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Thieves stole the East Cambridgeshire gold torc and a gold bracelet, both dating from the Bronze Age. The museum acquired the torc in 2017 with a series of grants and donations from the public. The police are currently investigating the theft.

Thieves stole the East Cambridgeshire gold torc and a gold bracelet, both dating from the Bronze Age, from Ely Museum

Elie Hughes, Curator at Ely Museum said: “We are devastated by the loss to the museum and to the local heritage of the region. It is a huge blow after the incredible support from the community in acquiring the torc in 2017.

“As a culturally significant object, it cannot be replaced.

Our priority now is working with the police to locate the stolen objects.”

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At the time it was acquired by the museum – in 2017 – it was valued at £220,000.

Found in East Cambridgeshire by a metal detectorist, the torc is regarded as the best to be found in England in more than a century. It is much larger than usual examples and is made of 730g of almost pure gold. The find was made in a ploughed field in East Cambridgeshire and was reported to the local Finds Liaison Officer.

Gold bracelet stolen from Ely Museum

Gold bracelet stolen from Ely Museum

If you have any information regarding this, please do contact the police through their web chat service quoting Operation Lacunar or call them on 101 if you do not have internet access. If you would like to report information anonymously you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

FACT FILE

Ely Museum is an independent local history museum with collections covering Ely and the surrounding villages from fossils through to the present day.

The museum reopened in 2021 after a refurbishment and won two RIBA East awards, a Selwyn Goldsmith Award for Universal Design and was shortlisted for a Civic Trust award and the Family Friendly Museums Award.

Alongside the National Lottery Heritage Fund grant and support of local donors, the museum has previously received support from a number of national and local trusts and foundations, East Cambridgeshire District Council, City of Ely Council.

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