Ipswich: It won’t be horn of plenty for gang who targeted Rosie the Rhino

IPSWICH: A rhino horn stolen from Ipswich Museum could have been worth as much as a quarter of a million pounds, it has emerged.

As reported by The Evening Star, the horn of Rosie the rhino – one of the museum’s best known exhibits – was targeted by thieves earlier this week.

The Metropolitan Police today confirmed that their colleagues from Suffolk have been in contact with the arts and antiques unit at New Scotland Yard.

Detective Sergeant Claire Hutcheon, from the specialist unit, said: “Rhino horn is worth about �60,000 a kilo and the average rhino horn weighs five to six kilos. It could be worth �250,000. It is double the value of gold.”

However, Rosie’s horn has been treated over the years to preserve it – rendering it worthless.

Det Sgt Hutcheon went on to say that rhino horn is highly prized in Asia, particularly China, where it is seen as a possible cure for cancer.

She said: “They are extremely valuable and that is why they are being stolen. There has been an increasing trend in the theft of rhino horn for some time. We believe they are being sold in the Asian market.”

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Det Sgt Hutcheon said it is thought the horn will have been ground down in order to be smuggled out of the UK.

She added: “We think the rise in rhino horn theft is because of the belief that originated a few years ago that rhino horn contains properties that can cure cancer. The horn is actually made of keratin so it is no more beneficial than biting your nails.”

Det Sgt Hutcheon added that up to 20 horns have been stolen from museums across Europe in recent months.

Rhino poaching has also surged, with 200 of the endangered animals killed in South Africa last year.

n What is your favourite exhibit at the museum? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk