Local News

Daytime Attempted Theft of Rhino Head at Norwich City Castle Museum Foiled by Staff Member

Four thieves attempted to steal a Rhinos head at around 1pm on Monday from Norwich Castle Museum that is situated in the heart of Norwich.

The thieves entered the museum as visitors but once inside they broke into the case that held the heavy rhino head.  One of the museums curators caught the thieves on their way out of the gallery and bravely snatched the rhino head back.

The four men escaped empty handed and fled in a waiting get away car.

Norwich Castle Museum is one of Norwich city’s most famous landmarks. The castle was built as a Royal Palace by the Normans 900 years ago and now a museum and art gallery.  The museum houses collections of fine art, archaeology and natural history.

The rhino head had been part of the stuffed animal collection since 1896.  Vanessa Trevelyan the head of Norfolk Museums Service praised staff in the prevention of the theft of the rhino head.   She thought that the thieves might have thought Norwich was a sleepy place making it an easy target.

Ms Trevelyan had confirmed the head had now been locked away with the horn and is to be replaced with a replica.  Police are appealing for witnesses.

This incident occurred just months after a gang of thieves stole the horn from the exhibit known as ‘Rosie the Rhino’ from Ipswich museum.

There have been similar raids across Europe that also includes Florence and Brussels.  Thefts have been sparked by an increase in the value of rhino horn.  Rhino horn is used in the traditional medicines of many Asian countries.  It is also used for decoration and in the production of some luxury items.

Rhino horn is reported to be twice as valuable as gold.  There are only about 30, 000 rhinos remaining in the world and only hundreds of certain sub-species which place them on the endangered species list.

It has been reported that some museums have taken rhino horns from their display and others have put a replica rhino’s horn in place.

Last July Europol (the European law enforcement agency) were said to have uncovered an Irish organised crime group illegally trading rhino horn worth tens of thousands of Euros as far as China.

Depending on the size and condition a horn can be worth between £22 – £175k according to Europol.