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Organised crime ‘likely behind Celtic gold heist’

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Organised crime groups were likely behind the theft of a huge hoard of ancient gold coins from a museum in southern Germany this week, officials have said.

The 483 coins were discovered in 1999 during excavations of an ancient settlement near the present-day town of Manching in Bavaria, and were on display at the local Celtic and Roman Museum.

Bavaria’s minister of science and arts, Markus Blume, told public broadcaster BR: “It’s clear that you don’t simply march into a museum and take this treasure with you.

“It’s highly secured and as such there’s a suspicion that we’re rather dealing with a case of organised crime.”

Mr Blume said that all of the museum’s security systems, along with Manching’s entire telephone network, had been disabled during the heist.

German news agency dpa reported that in addition to the 483 coins, dating back to around 100BC, three other items were stolen from a second display cabinet.

Authorities fear the treasure, worth millions of euro, could be melted down, meaning the bowl-shaped coins would be lost to science.

Police and prosecutors planned to hold a news conference in Manching on Wednesday afternoon.

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