Update: Sex potion link to rhino horn raid
IPSWICH: Underworld sources were being activated today in a bid to catch raiders who snatched a rhino horn highly valued for its aphrodisiac qualities.
But police believe Rosie the Rhino’s fearsome horn may have been ground in to powder for potions within hours of yesterday’s early hours burglary at Ipswich Museum
Rhino horn is widely prized in Chinese medicine for its alleged aphrodisiac qualities – and the value of it is said to be about �60,000 a kilo, twice that of gold.
The thieves also took the skull of another rhino on display in a different part of the gallery.
The raid took only three minutes – the automatic alarm that sounds at the police headquarters was triggered at 12.28am.
A police patrol car was sent out immediately, but at 12.31am a member of the public phoned the police to say he had seen two men running into a silver saloon car which sped away from the museum.
Police arrived at the scene at 12.36am – eight minutes after the initial call.
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A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “The two men were seen existing an alleyway leading from the rear of the museum onto St George Street.
“They were holding a large object and ran to the top of St George Street where they got into a white/silver medium sized four-door car.
“The vehicle then left the area at speed in the direction of Henley Road.
“They are described as both wearing light coloured hooded tops and dark coloured trousers.”
One of the men was between 5ft 5ins and 5ft 6ins and the other between 5ft 8ins and 5ft 9ins.
The incident follows a number of similar thefts from other museums in Europe and the UK.
Earlier this month the Met warned that rhino horns in museums were being targeted by criminal gangs.
A spokesman for the borough said they had reviewed security in the light of the warning.
The museum opened late yesterday once police had finished their investigations.
Peter Berridge, museum manager, revealed that the horn would be useless as an aphrodisiac. He said it dated from the Victorian era and that a cocktail of chemicals would have been used to preserve it.
Council director with responsibility for culture, Jonathan Owen, said the Ipswich Museum was regarded as secure: “We had an inspection by the museums watchdog fairly recently and we passed with flying colours.”
Councillor with responsibility for leisure and culture Bryony Rudkin said: “We were determined to get the museum open as soon as we could, so as soon as the police had finished we opened the doors and there was quite a crowd outside.”
She said that whatever happens Rosie would have a new horn back before long.
If anyone can help police with their investigations, contact DS Matt Little or DC Miranda Worne at Ipswich CID on 01473 613500.
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