Labourers 'stole hidden treasure'

Three workers due to face court, accused of taking buried gold worth €900,000 from a property in Normandy

THREE labourers have been charged with stealing a treasure trove of gold bars and coins from a house in Normandy, it has been reported.

The men had been working at property for several days when they found the treasure, estimated to be worth more than €900,000, hidden in jars. It was made up of 16 1kg gold bars and about 600 American $20 gold coins dated between 1924 and 1927.

It is thought it had been hidden on land at the property during World War Two.

The workers, aged 20, 33 and 40, are accused of taking the gold and selling it on to a local coin collector.

Regional newspaper Paris-Normandie reports that tax officials became suspicious when one of the men deposited two cheques - one for €270,000 and the second for €30,000. It said that they confessed when investigators caught up with them.

Police seized several vehicles, motorcycles and hundreds of thousands of euros.

The three are soon to appear at court in Evreux, north-west of Paris.

The collector will also appear in court, charged with handling stolen goods, which he denies.

The owners of the property, who wish to remain anonymous, live in a small village in the Eure department.

Photo: John Louis