Stolen items returned to Petworth House

JPEt Petworth House ENGSUS00320131126100654
JPEt Petworth House ENGSUS00320131126100654

A detective returned a selection of antiques to Petworth House this week, after a prolific thief from London was jailed for stealing them.

The pair of Japanese plates - together with a Derby porcelain plaque from Clandon Park - were recovered from a pawn broker in Hatton Gardens, London.

Paul Whiting, 68, originally from Hammersmith in London, appeared at Guildford Crown Court on February 6 where he was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for the theft of two Japanese plates from Petworth in February 2012 and a porcelain plaque from Clandon Park in May 2013.

The sentence is to run concurrent to a sentence he is already serving for a theft at a National Trust property in Hertfordshire.

A key piece of evidence to convict Whiting came from CCTV images of the 68 year old when he took the porcelain plaque to Bonhams Auctioneers in New Bond Street for a valuation.

John Sandon and Fergus Gambon of The Antiques Roadshow fame, were working that day at the auctioneers and carried out an inspection of the item.

A few days later, Mr Sandon read an article in The Antique Trade Gazette regarding the theft of the plaque from Clandon Park and recognised the piece as being the one he had recently examined.

CCTV was produced from Bonhams of the meeting and circulated to other police forces. An officer from Hertfordshire saw the stills and recognised Whiting as someone he had arrested for a burglary at a National Trust House in West Wycombe Park in June 2013.

Officers from Surrey Police interviewed Whiting in prison and subsequently charged him with the two burglaries.

Andrew Loukes, House and Collections Manager at Petworth said: “The National Trust at Petworth are delighted to have the Japanese dishes back, and are very grateful to Surrey and West Sussex Police Forces for all their efforts.

“We are also pleased that our own CCTV coverage was able to link Whiting with the theft from Petworth.”