Arrest of St Albans man leads to World War artefacts and munitions seized in Bicester

Police and Bomb Disposal teams

Police and Bomb Disposal teams - Credit: Archant

Thames Valley Police has arrested a 35-year-old man on suspicion of theft as a result of information gleaned during a police raid in St Albans to target the theft of heritage First and Second World War artefacts and munitions.

As a result of a large cache of heritage items being discovered in a shed during a massive police raid on a Windmill Ave address on Wednesday (17), First and Second World War munitions have also been located at a home in Bicester.

A man from Bicester was yesterday (Thursday) arrested on suspicion of theft from heritage and protected sites and was taken in to police custody.

His arrest follows the arrest, and subsequent police bail, of a 48 year old St Albans man on suspicion of theft from heritage and protected sites and of possession of explosives, firearms and ammunition.

An exact list of all the items recovered from the Bicester address has yet to be established by investigating officers at the address.

But, as in St Albans, controlled explosions have been carried out by the Army’s bomb squad to safely remove artefacts and munitions found at the address.

Homes nearby were also evacuated.

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Mark Harrison, national policing and crime advisor for English Heritage, who also attended the St Albans raid, said: “The practice of illegal metal detecting or stealing artefacts from the ground, particularly from conflict sites relating to the First and Second World Wars, is an issue that English Heritage takes very seriously.

“We recognise that the majority of the metal detecting community comply with the laws and regulations relating to the discovery and recovery of objects from the land. We are prepared to take action and do what is necessary including working alongside the police to bring those responsible to justice.”