Gold Torc

The Bronze Age gold torc that was stolen from Ely Museum.

Image copyright: The Trustees of the British Museum

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The gold torc and a gold bracelet were taken in the early hours of May 7 after thieves broke into the museum. Cambridgeshire Police said it was looking for two suspects on e-scooters who were believed to be involved in the burglary.

Detective Inspector Kiri Mazur said: “The theft of these items is despicable, and we are focused on identifying the offenders, tracing the items, and returning them to their rightful place. We are working closely with staff at Ely Museum to follow all lines of enquiry.”

The gold torc was found by a metal detectorist in 2011 in a ploughed field East Cambridgeshire, while the gold bracelet was found separately in the same year but in a different location in the same county. The items were reported to the local Finds Liaison Officer and were subsequently declared as Treasure.

The torc, an unusually large example made of 730g of almost pure gold, was regarded as the best to be found in England in more than a century and was valued at £220,000 at the time the museum acquired it in 2017 using grants and donations.

Bronze Age gold bracelet

The Bronze Age gold bracelet that was stolen from Ely Museum.

Image copyright: Cambridgeshire County Council

The gold bracelet is believed to be approximately 3000 years old and went on display at the museum in 2013.

Ely Museum curator 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.”

Anyone with information should contact Cambridgeshire Police via its website quoting Operation Lacunar or call them on 101. To report information anonymously, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.