Detectives in London have found a £2.5m Ming vase thought to have been stolen in Switzerland, and arrested two men.
The 15th-century antique is believed to have been taken by a London-based organised crime gang from a collector last summer.
The two suspects, aged 44 and 42, were arrested in Mayfair, west London, on suspicion of handling stolen goods and released on police bail until the middle of next month.
Detectives are working with the Swiss authorities to investigate the burglary.
The vase, dating from the Chinese Ming dynasty, which ruled China from 1368 to 1644, was described as “a one-off” with “immeasurable cultural value”. The Ming dynasty was a period of huge innovation in ceramic manufacture, and collectors prize pottery from the era.
Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Jimi Tele said the arrests were a significant step forward in a complex investigation into a high-value burglary.
“Whilst this vase is valued at around £2.5m, it is a one-off and unique and therefore has immeasurable cultural value. It will be repatriated in due course.
“The organised crime group at the centre of this investigation is also suspected of involvement in serious violence, so to arrest two suspected members safely is excellent.
“Bearing down on serious crime and violence remains the Met’s top priority, and we will continue to disrupt the workings of organised crime whose members think they are out of reach of the law.”
Counterfeit currency, class-A drugs and two suspected Tasers were found in a search of an address in Charlton, southeast London, as part of the investigation.