Somerset

Bulmers cider family art robbery: Twelve men charged

Endymion Image copyright georgefredericwatts.org
Image caption A total of 15 paintings were stolen, including Endymion by George Frederic Watts

Twelve men have been charged in connection with a multi-million pound raid at a cider-making family's luxury home in Somerset.

Esmond and Susie Bulmer's home in Bruton was targeted in 2009 and the couple's housekeeper was allegedly tied to a banister.

A total of 15 paintings worth £1.7m, and £1m of antique jewellery were stolen.

The men are due to appear at Bristol magistrates on 24 August.

The paintings included the famous Endymion by 19th century English painter George Frederic Watts, and Apple Blossom by early 20th century English artist Sir George Clausen.

All the paintings have been recovered, except for Sir John Lavery's After Glow Taplow.

Conservative MP

The accused men are aged between 38 and 64 and from Dartford, Gloucester, London, Weybridge, Surrey, Birmingham, Solihull or have no fixed address.

The charges relate to conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to defraud, assisting in the realisation of stolen property, and converting criminal property.

The Bulmer family, originally based in Hereford, made their name in the cider industry.

Mr Bulmer was Conservative MP for Kidderminster from 1974 to 1983. He also represented Wyre Forest from 1983 until the general election of 1987 when he stepped down.

The art collector and his family made £84m when they sold their stake in the family cider business.

Bulmers was founded in 1887 by Percy Bulmer, the 20-year-old son of a Hereford clergyman.

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