Dresden Green Vault: Three arrested over German diamond heist

Publishedduration43 minutes agomedia captionSecurity camera footage showed figures with torches and tools smashing one of the cabinets

Three people have been arrested over a dramatic diamond heist in Germany last year that targeted one of Europe's largest treasure collections.

The suspects are accused of stealing more than a dozen diamond-encrusted items from the Dresden Green Vault in the east of the country, police said.

Saxony's ruler, Augustus the Strong, created the collection in 1723 in what is one of the world's oldest museums.

Police have also raided homes in Berlin as part of the investigation.

"The measures today are focused on the search for the stolen art treasures and possible evidence, such as storage media, clothing and tools," a statement said.

Some 1,600 officers were involved in the raids across several German states. The three held are believed to be members of a notorious criminal family network based in Berlin, BBC correspondent Jenny Hill reports.

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Three jewellery sets are believed to have been stolen from the Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe) in last November's daring heist, reportedly including rubies, emeralds and sapphires.

image copyrightAFPimage captionThe Green Vault is a world-famous treasure collection

Other items that were stolen included a diamond-encrusted sword and a shoulder-piece containing a famous 49-carat Dresden white diamond.

"The items cannot be sold on the art market legally – they're too well known," Marion Ackermann, the head of the Dresden state museums, said shortly after the robbery.

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