Museum fakes for rhino horn thieves
Rhino horn thieves staging a museum break-in were foiled by staff who had replaced the £240,000 rare specimens with replicas.
The models were put in place three months ago following a string of similar raids across Britain and Europe.
But while real horn is worth around £50,000 a kilo, the fakes stolen from the Natural History Museum at Tring, in Hertfordshire, have no financial value.
Museum staff believe they were targeted by the same gang that has preyed on auction rooms, galleries and private collections in recent months.
Paul Kitching, manager of the Natural History Museum at Tring, said: "We're deeply saddened by this pointless theft. The rhinoceros horns that have been stolen were replicas made out of resin, so they have no commercial value.
"We're now working with the police and urge anyone with any pertinent information to get in touch. We are working today to clear up the museum so that we can reopen as usual tomorrow."
The two stolen replicas were taken from an Indian and a white rhino. Both weigh around 2kg.
Police said there were two break-ins at the museum on Akeman Street.
The first took place between 10pm last night and 12.30am this morning when offenders got into the building through the front door. The second occurred at around 4.30am, via a first-floor window.
Officers believe it was during the second visit that the horns were taken. They are now appealing for witnesses who may have seen a dark-coloured hatchback being driven quickly in the area in the early hours of the morning.