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Man stole £4.8m golden toilet in palace burglary

A man has pleaded guilty to stealing a £4.8m golden toilet from Blenheim Palace.

In September 2019, the 18-carat loo vanished from the estate in Oxfordshire, where it had been displayed as an art piece called ‘America’.

The toilet was installed in Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, as part of Italian concept artist Maurizio Cattelan’s first solo exhibition in 20 years.

Thames Valley Police previously charged four men, and now one has pleaded guilty, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

James Sheen, 39, from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, pleaded guilty to burglary, converting or transferring criminal property and conspiracy to do the same, at Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday.

Damage left behind after the golden toilet was stolen. Pic: PA
Image: Damage left behind after the golden toilet was stolen. Pic: PA

Sheen appeared in court via a video link from HMP Five Wells where he is already serving a 17-year sentence for a string of thefts.

His past crimes include stealing £400,000 worth of tractors and trophies from the National Horse Racing Museum.

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Three other men have pleaded not guilty to charges related to the theft.

Michael Jones, 38, from Oxford, is accused of burglary.

Frederick Sines, aka Frederick Doe, from Ascot, Berkshire, and Bora Guccuck, 40, of west London, are both accused of conspiracy to transfer criminal property.

Michael Jones leaves Oxford Magistrates' Court, as four men have been charged over the theft of a gold toilet from Blenheim Palace. The art installation, valued at £4.8 million, vanished in an overnight raid in September 2019. Picture date: Tuesday November 28, 2023.
Image: Michael Jones is one of three men who have pleaded not guilty to charges related to the theft
Bora Guccuk leaves Oxford Magistrates' Court, as four men have been charged over the theft of a gold toilet from Blenheim Palace. The art installation, valued at £4.8 million, vanished in an overnight raid in September 2019. Picture date: Tuesday November 28, 2023.
Image: Bora Guccuk also pleaded not guilty
Fred Sines leaves Oxford Magistrates' Court, as four men have been charged over the theft of a gold toilet from Blenheim Palace. The art installation, valued at £4.8 million, vanished in an overnight raid in September 2019. Picture date: Tuesday November 28, 2023.
Image: Fred Sines pictured leaving Oxford Magistrates’ Court

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The men are due to go on trial on 24 February 2025.

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