Gold rosary beads carried by Mary Queen of Scots to her execution are among treasures worth £1m stolen in raid on Arundel Castle
- Alarms tripped at 10.30pm on Friday when thieves broke into Arundel Castle
- Queen Mary of Scots’s rosary beads and other gold and silver treasures taken
- The monarch carried the beads to her death in 1587 when she was beheaded
Gold Rosary Beads carried by Mary Queen of Scots to her execution are among more than £1 million worth of treasures which have been stolen in a raid on Arundel Castle.
Police are hunting thieves who broke into the historic building in West Sussex on Friday night.
Alarms at the castle were tripped at 10.30pm and a 4×4, found soon after, is being examined by police forensic teams to establish if it was part of the daring robbery.
Treasures worth more than £1milion have been stolen from Arundel Castle, West Sussex, including gold rosary beads Mary Queen of Scots carried to her execution in 1587 (pictured)
Queen Mary carried the beads to her death in 1587 when she was beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle for her complicity in a plot to murder Queen Elizabeth I.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said the rosary is of little value as metal.
‘As a piece of the Howard family history and the nation’s heritage it is irreplaceable,’ the spokesman said.
Alarms at the castle were tripped at 10.30pm and a display case (pictured) was smashed so the thieves could get their hands on the treaures inside
Coronation cups given by the Sovereign to the Earl Marshal of the day and other gold and silver treasures were also taken when a display case in the castle was smashed open.
The case on the public route around the castle was ripped open days after the castle reopened to visitors.
A spokesman for Arundel Castle Trustees said; ‘The stolen items have significant monetary value, but as unique artefacts of the Duke of Norfolk’s collection have immeasurably greater and priceless historical importance.
‘We therefore urge anyone with information to come forward to the police to assist them in returning these treasures back where they belong.’
Police are examining a 4×4 found abandoned and on fire in nearby Barlavington a short while later.
A police spokesman said they were on the scene within minutes.
Detective Constable Molly O’Malley of Chichester CID said; ‘If you were in Arundel on Friday evening and saw any suspicious activity around the area of the Castle, please contact us either online or by calling 101, quoting Operation Deuce.
Police are examining a 4×4 found abandoned and on fire in nearby Barlavington a short while after the break in at Arundel Castle (pictured)
‘In addition, the castle only re-opened to visitors on Tuesday 18 May so if you were visiting during the past few days do you on reflection recall anyone behaving at all suspiciously?
‘If you are offered or hear of anyone offering for sale any of the items stolen, we would also like to hear from you.’
Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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