Tuesday 22 October 2019

Burglars steal solid gold toilet from Churchill's birthplace

The fully-working solid gold toilet, created by Maurizio Cattelan, was stolen from Blenheim Palace yesterday. The Italian artist is known as the prankster of the art world. Photo: Getty
The fully-working solid gold toilet, created by Maurizio Cattelan, was stolen from Blenheim Palace yesterday. The Italian artist is known as the prankster of the art world. Photo: Getty

Caitlin Doherty

Police in the UK are searching for a solid gold toilet stolen from the birthplace of Winston Churchill.

The toilet - part of an art exhibition at Blenheim Palace - was taken in the early hours of yesterday, Thames Valley Police said.

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The force said officers were called to reports of a burglary at the Oxfordshire estate shortly before 5am.

Detective Inspector Jess Milne said: "The piece of art that has been stolen is a high-value toilet made out of gold that was on display at the palace.

"The artwork has not been recovered at this time - but we are conducting a thorough investigation to find it and bring those responsible to justice."

A 66-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident.

The palace has suffered significant damage and flooding following the burglary, because the loo, designed by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, had been plumbed in and was available for visitors to use.

Last month, ahead of the toilet's installation, the Duke of Marlborough's half-brother Edward Spencer-Churchill said the lavatory wouldn't be "the easiest thing to nick".

"Firstly, it's plumbed in - and secondly, a potential thief will have no idea who last used the toilet or what they ate. So no, I don't plan to be guarding it," Mr Spencer-Churchill added:

Blenheim Palace was closed yesterday following the burglary.

EventSite Design, which works at the site, said on Twitter: "We've had some drama overnight which I won't elaborate on just yet but it has meant we need to redirect our contractor traffic for the day."

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