A BARNSLEY man who pleaded guilty to handling stolen antiques worth £5million will be sentenced next month, after an accomplice also pleaded guilty in court on June 3.

Brian Eaton, 69, of Chapel Road, Tankersley, appeared in court back in August 2012. Darren Webster, 45, of Leeds, also pleaded guilty but have been awaiting sentence, subject to the outcome of the third member's appearance in court.

The last of the trio to plead guilty, Carl Rutter, 46, of Wakefield, appeared at Leeds Crown Court and was described by officers as 'a significant conspirator'.

Webster was described by officers as the 'lead conspirator' whereas Eaton was responsible for introducing prospective buyers of the antiques to Webster and Rutter.

The valuables, known to be of significant and cultural historic value and worth a total of £5million, were recovered by officers from the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) on September 22 2011.

It marked the culmination of a year-long investigation carried out by the ROCU who received significant support from West Yorkshire Police and officers from the Regional Roads Crime Team, North Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Police.

The fourteen items, which were recovered from Eaton’s home address in Barnsley and Webster’s address in Leeds, were those previously reported as stolen from Newby Hall and Sion Hill in North Yorkshire and Firle Place in Sussex. All items have now been returned.

Speaking of the case, Det Supt Steve Waite, said: "We were immensely pleased and proud back in September 2011 to have recovered these high value antiques which were described as true pieces of British heritage.

"Today’s plea brings this absolutely fantastic case one step closer to its conclusion. It’s a great result for both the officers involved and the stately homes that were affected by these thefts."