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HMS Hermes thefts: Teynham man arrested

A man from Teynham has been arrested after historical artefacts were stolen from a sunken Royal Navy warship.

Police arrested two men following the reported theft of items from HMS Hermes which sits at the bottom of the English Channel.

On Monday, officers executed warrants at two addresses, one in Teynham and another in Rye in East Sussex, after an investigation in partnership with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Marine Management Organisations, the Receiver of the Wreck, Sussex Police, Historic England and the French authorities. 

Two people have been arrested after thefts from the shipwreck of HMS Hermes.
Two people have been arrested after thefts from the shipwreck of HMS Hermes.

A 55-year-old man from Teynham was arrested on suspicion of theft and released on bail until February 22.

A 56-year-old man from East Sussex was arrested on suspicion of theft and fraud and was also released on bail until February 22. 

"We will continue to investigate anyone suspected of stealing items from sunken wrecks." - PC Preston Frost

Officers also seized a number of historical artefacts they believed to have been stolen from HMS Hermes and other underwater locations.

The ship was a protected cruiser built in the 1890s and converted into an aircraft ferry and depot ship ready for the start of the First World War in 1914.

It was sunk by a German submarine in the Dover Strait in October of that year with the loss of 44 lives.

PC Preston Frost said: "We are proud of our close working relationship with our partner agencies and take a robust approach to ensuring important historical artefacts do not end up in the hands of people who are not entitled to them.

"We will continue to investigate anyone suspected of stealing items from sunken wrecks and will bring prosecutions against them when appropriate."

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