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Officers in the county are asking for help to identify the former owners of nine Meiji ivory okimono sold at auction in 2019.

Detective Constable Kerry Plumb said: “These distinctive Japanese antique ivory pieces were sold at an auction by an antiques dealer who we are now investigating in connection with the [Woking] burglary.

“Although these items were not from this burglary, we have some questions about them that we’d like to clear up.”

Distinctive items

“I am keen to understand how the antiques dealer came to be in possession of these distinctive items – did he buy them, inherit them, was he given them?

“The pieces probably all belonged to the same collector, and I feel sure that someone will recognise them. If you do recognise any of these pieces, please make contact.

Plumb stressed that the “auction house, original owner and current owner(s) are not believed to have done anything wrong”. The request is to understand the previous history of these items (prior to 2018) rather than the more recent sale and ownership.

The collection comprises nine typical late 19th and early 20th century elephant ivory carvings. These include a monkey; a lion attacking a crocodile; a snarling lion; a bear and a tiger attacking a boar; a bat eating a pomegranate; a tiger attacking a bear; a monkey attacking a kappa; two tigers attacking a camel; and an ivory box and lid.

If you recognise the items (above) and know anything about their ownership or whereabouts in, or before, 2018, or if you have any information which could help, contact Surrey Police quoting crime reference number PR/45190014823 by calling 101 or go to Surrey Police online