Thieves have stolen a solid gold toilet from Britain’s Blenheim Palace just two days after it was installed.
The toilet, valued at £1 million ($1.8 million), was installed at the birthplace of wartime leader Winston Churchill, as part of an art exhibition.
Thames Valley Police said the 18-karat gold toilet it was taken from the Oxfordshire estate in the early hours of Saturday morning local time by thieves who used at least two vehicles.
Detective Inspector Jess Milne said: “The piece of art that has been stolen is a high value toilet made out of gold that was on display at the palace.
“The artwork has not been recovered at this time, but we are conducting a thorough investigation to find it and bring those responsible to justice.”
A 66-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident.
The palace has suffered significant damage and flooding following the burglary, because the loo, designed by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, had been plumbed in and was available for visitors to use.
Blenheim Palace chief executive Dominic Hare urged anyone with any information about the theft to contact police.
He said: “Following the Thames Valley Police statement we can confirm ‘America’, the art piece by Maurizio Cattelan, has been stolen in the early hours of this morning.
“We are saddened by this extraordinary event, but also relieved no-one was hurt.
“We are very grateful to our staff and to Thames Valley Police for their rapid and brave reactions.
“We knew there was huge interest in the Maurizio Cattelan contemporary art exhibition, with many set to come and enjoy the installations.
“It’s therefore a great shame an item so precious has been taken, but we still have so many fascinating treasures in the palace and the remaining items of the exhibition to share.
Last month, ahead of the toilet’s installation, the Duke of Marlborough’s half-brother, Edward Spencer-Churchill, said the lavatory wouldn’t be “the easiest thing to nick”.
Mr Spencer-Churchill told the Times: “”Firstly, it’s plumbed in and secondly, a potential thief will have no idea who last used the toilet or what they ate.
“So no, I don’t plan to be guarding it.”
Blenheim Palace was closed on Saturday following the burglary.
EventSite Design, who work at the site, said on Twitter: “We’ve had some drama overnight which I won’t elaborate on just yet but it has meant we need to redirect our contractor traffic for the day.”