THE FORMER spokesman for travellers fighting eviction from the Dale Farm traveller site has had his bail extended after he was arrested in connection with an international probe into the theft of rhinoceros horns from museums across Europe.
Richard Sheridan, 45, was arrested with 23 other people during a series of raids at traveller sites and other addresses across the country last September.
Vast: Dale Farm before the eviction
Similar site: Smithy Fen where many evicted people sought refuge
Mr Sheridan, who led a ten-year battle against Basildon Council’s bid to clear the 54-caravan pitch illegal site off Oak Lane, Crays Hill, near Billericay, was arrested with three other men at the Smithy Fen site in Cottenham, near Cambridge.
They included his uncle Richard “Kerry” O’Brien, 57, who owns several properties in Rathkeale, County Limerick, in the Irish Republic, the town known as the spiritual home of the traveller clan from Dale Farm.
Several of the families evicted from Dale Farm moved to Smithy Fen following its October 2011 demolition.
Campaigner: Richard Sheridan and relatives celebrate a High Court reprieve...
...Greets media at the site...
...Enlists the support of the late actor Corin Redgrave, his sister screen legend Vanessa Redgrave and traveller supporter Grattan Puxon...
...And travels to Strasbourg to ask the United Nations for support
On the day of the raids, on September 10, a man aged 26 was also arrested in Oak Lane, Crays Hill, at the legal site which remains there, while a 46-year-old from the site was held during a search of two homes and a car in Rochford Road, Southend.
Simultaneous raids also took place at Mr O’Brien’s home in Rathkeale and at the address of Mr Sheridan’s parents on the Low Hill housing estate in Wiolverhampton, where a number of the families have also been linked to council properties.
In all 20 men, two women and two teenage boys were held on suspicion on suspicion of being involved in six crimes over a four-month period at museums and auction houses across England.
Arrested: Richard Sheridan led away by police during Smithy Fen raid last September
Chinese artefacts and rhinoceros horn worth around £15million were targeted in six incidents - two thefts and an attempted theft from Durham University Oriental Museum and further incidents at Gorringes Auction House in East Sussex, Norwich Castle Museum in Norfolk and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
All 24 have had their bail extended until September 9 and 10.