Further questions over Norwich castle security after theft of Nelson artefacts
PUBLISHED: 06:30 07 March 2012 | UPDATED: 11:41 07 March 2012
Further questions have been raised about security at Norwich Castle after the theft of Lord Nelson artefacts worth more than £36,000, including why it more than a week passed before the crime was made public.
As reported in the EDP and Evening News, the historic items linked to Norfolk’s naval hero - a ring and a saucer - were discovered to be missing from a cabinet at the castle on Saturday, February 25, a few days after museum staff foiled an attempt to steal a rhino horn.
At a meeting of Norfolk County Council’s community services overview and scrutiny committee yesterday, questions were asked about why a week had passed before the theft was publicised.
George Nobbs, leader of the Labour group at County Hall, said: “The chairman of the Norwich Area Museums committee was at a reception at the castle on Friday and he was not told about it.
“The first he knew of the situation was when I told him about after reading it in the paper. This situation is not satisfactory.
“Were we ever going to be told? What else has gone missing? Will the cabinet member consider that it is not just security which should be looked at, but whether the entire management structure at the castle is fit for purpose?” James Carswell, cabinet member for cultural services, said the review would look at security and what had happened after the theft was discovered, but that until he saw the evidence it was unfair to make any comments about the management of the castle.
Harold Bodmer, director of community services at Norfolk County Council, said an internal review was under way and the national security advisor for the Arts Council had also agreed to carry out a full security review.
He said: “This is obviously a serious incident and one which we are treating with the utmost gravity.”
Michael Chenery, who represents Docking division, asked whether the cases at the library had alarms fitted and whether there were CCTV cameras in place.
Mr Bodmer replied that police were looking through CCTV, but that, given that a police investigation is under way, it would not be appropriate to discuss other security measures at the museum.
But he dismissed claims a recent staffing restructuring at the castle had reduced security, while adding the museum service was “as keen as anyone to learn any lessons from this for the future”.