Bulmers cider magnates lured alleged art thieves with fake advert in antiques magazine, court hears

The Telegraph | 

The family behind Bulmers cider tracked down the alleged art thieves who burgled their home by posting a fake advert in an antiques magazine six years after the crime, a court has heard. Millions of pounds of artwork and antiques were stolen from the home of Esmond and Susie Bulmer, members of the Bulmers cider family, in Bruton, Somerset in 2009. But it was not until a fake advert was placed in an antiques magazine in 2015 that the perpetrators were found. Bristol Crown Court heard a group of burglars with intimate knowledge of the property – known as the Pavilions – ransacked it on the evening of March 20 whilst the couple were on holiday. Following the raid insurance firm Hiscox paid the Bulmers a “substantial amount” of money, but both the couple and the company wished to recover the paintings, estimated to be worth up to £2 million.

In December 2009, a man called Richard Ellis became involved in tracking down the artworks for the family. With the assistance of him and the Bulmer family, an advert was placed in the Antiques Trade Gazette in February 2015 offering a £50,000 reward for the paintings. It was at this time Jonathan Rees came forward, claiming to be a “go between” to secure the reward, stating he had “ex-SAS members” who would recover the artwork, the court heard. He is accused of persuading Hiscox to increase the reward to £175,000 and personally returning the paintings to a secure location in Bermondsey, London, in August 2015. Hiscox allegedly paid the money into an account for a company called Lois Jewellery…read more