Exploring heritage crime at Ripley Castle

The CLA North team hosted an event which explored the nature and incidence of heritage crime at Ripley Castle in North Yorkshire. The event, which was attended by 20 members and guests was supported by Tennants Auctioneers.

Sir Thomas Ingilby, in his capacity as founder and national co-ordinator of the Stately Home Hotline gave an illuminating talk on how he got involved in creating this crime intelligence network which links more than 1,500 heritage properties across the country.

Sir Thomas came up with the idea a few years ago after a couple of visitors stole a Civil War sword and leather surcoat during a busy Bank holiday. When he notified the police, they discovered that the same couple had stolen Civil War items from two other heritage properties in the area earlier in the weekend. Nobody had passed on a warning or any description or details of the thieves and the distraction technique that they were using.

He also talked about the different types of theft and the properties that were affected. Lead stolen from church roofs continues to be commonplace, citing for instance the lead stolen from Bedale church at 7pm, by a gang a wearing hi viz jackets. Not a single report was received of the theft.

Sergeant David Lund from North Yorkshire Police Task Force urged members to report incidents and anything suspicious such as unusual vehicles. When reporting, if possible as well as the location the make, model, colour and registration of the vehicle should be passed on to the police using 101 or if an incident was taking place 999.

PSO Sarah Harrod gave an interesting case study on the theft plate from a local church. An antique dealer was approached and became suspicious. He reported the incident to the police and his CCTV images were of sufficient quality for the person to be identified and apprehended.

James Brown, Selecta DNA’s Managing Director explained how their technology worked in the recovery of stolen goods by marking valuable items with a synthetic DNA. The police have access to the Selecta DNA database which allows them to check the ownership of stolen goods. Selecta DNA also work closely with the police and other agencies which allows research on new deterrents.

All attendees had an excellent ‘chef’s choice’ lunch served in the Long Gallery, followed by a tour of Ripley Castle led by Sir Thomas.

Key contact:

Rachael Clayton - North_.JPG
Rachael Clayton Event Manager, CLA North