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Tadworth man jailed for handling million pound Wenlok jug
A man has been jailed for handling a million pound medieval jug stolen in a museum heist.
The bronze jug, described as a ‘national treasure’, was recovered at a property in Tadworth last September after it was stolen from a Luton museum in May.
Ronald Nash, 23, of Pitwood Green, Tadworth, was sentenced to three years and three months in prison at Luton Crown Court last week.
He had pleaded guilty on Friday, March 15, to handling stolen property and supplying class A drugs.
Louis Kybert, 25, of Ferndale Road, Banstead, who was arrested by officers in the search for the jug, was also sentenced to five years in jail.
He pleaded guilty to possession of two stun guns and supplying of Class A drugs.
The Wenlok Jug was stolen during an overnight break-in at Stockwood Discovery Centre.
The jug, which is decorated with coats of arms and badges and inscribed with ‘My Lord Wenlok’, was found following a BBC Crimewatch appeal.
Bedfordshire police's Detective Inspector Martin Peters, who led the investigation to trace the jug, said: "This was a high profile case which involved the theft of a national treasure."
After Nash pleaded guilty last month, Karen Perkins, director of museums at Luton Culture, said everyone had been devastated by the theft but were overjoyed to have the jug returned.
Ms Perkins said: "There was a measure of relief and absolute joy that we got it back.
"We have got a double reason to be absolutely thrilled. We can focus on getting the jug back on display as soon as possible after Easter."
She said top security experts had advised them during a review of CCTV, the alarm system and the high security display case.
She said: "The jug is incredibly important to the people of Luton. Its value is not as a bronze jug but its real value as it’s one of only three of its kind in the world."
The inscription could relate to the first Lord Wenlock, who lived near Luton, or William Wenlock, who died in 1391 and is buried under a parish church in Luton.
John, was made chief butler of England in 1461, which meant he supervised the King Edward IV’s butlery and provided wine and ale for feasts.
He died at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 while fighting the Lancastrians during the War of the Roses.
John’s great uncle William was master of a hospital for the poor in Luton and canon of St Paul’s Cathedral from 1362.
Elise Naish, collections manager at Luton Culture, said the jug’s coats of arms were from a bit earlier than John’s lifetime but possibly an old set of moulds had been used.
She said: "It’s more than likely that the jug belonged to John and it was connected to the fact he was chief butler for the king. It’s all supposition. There’s no proof."