Headington man admits ATM raids and break-in at horse racing museum

A burglar confessed to a shattering raid on the Newmarket Horseracing Museum that saw thieves run away with the Ascot gold vase and the 1907 Chesterfield Cup.

James Sheen, 37, also pleaded guilty to planning explosions and raids on ATMs across the Home Counties.

They included robberies targeting cash machines at Chinnor and Botley co-ops.

Appearing at Oxford Crown Court Thursday afternoon via video link from Coldingley Prison, Sheen, of Warren Crescent, Headington, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause an explosion between June 1, 2019 and August 7, 2019, burglary between December 1, 2019 and May 12, 2020, burglary at the Newmarket Horseracing Museum on May 8, theft of a Toyota Landcruiser in May of last year, attempted theft of a Mitsubishi on May 14, 2020, use of a stolen BMW last May, and plot to steal factory machinery.

He pleaded not guilty to burglaries at Co-op stores in Chinnor, Botley and Newbury between December 8 and 9, 2019 and conspiracy to rob business premises between June 1 and August 7, 2019.

Prosecutor Barry McElduff has confirmed that the pleas are acceptable. Sheen was represented by lawyer Michael Neofytou.

Among the items taken in the raid on the Newmarket Museum last year included the Gold Ascot Vase, the Chesterfield Cup from 1907, the Lincoln Cup Trophies from 1833 and 1838.

At the time, museum bosses said a total of 10 trophies were stolen in the shattering attack on May 8. A ram was reportedly used to smash bulletproof glass cabinets.

A reward of £ 50,000 has been set up for information leading to the discovery of the culprits.

The museum’s director general, Dr Steven Parissien, said last year: “At a time when we are all supposed to stand together during the coronavirus pandemic, it is very disappointing that this has happened.

“They were wonderful works of art and so recognizable.”

Sheen will be sentenced next year.

Bletchingdon Co-op was targeted in a raid in 2020 Photo: OXFORD MAIL

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About Carlos V. Mitchell

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