POLICE have released photos of two ladders thieves used to break into a historic castle and steal treasures worth more than £1 million.

Officers are hoping someone will recognise the ladders which were used to gain access to Arundel Castle last month.

Various items of great historical significance were taken, as thieves smashed a display cabinet along the public route during the heist on the evening of Friday, May 21.

These include the Gold Rosary Beads carried by Mary Queen of Scots at her execution in 1587, several coronation cups given by the Sovereign to the Earl Marshal of the day, and other gold and silver treasures.

The Argus:

Police said the rosary is of little intrinsic value as metal, "but as a piece of the Howard family history and the nation’s heritage it is irreplaceable".

Castle staff were alerted to the break-in when a burglar alarm sounded at 10.30pm, and police arrived within minutes.

Two metal ladders were found at the castle and police say they were used by the thieves to gain access to the dining room area, where a window was forced to gain entry.

One of the ladders is 6ft long and the other 12ft long, but both can be extended to twice their lengths.

The Argus:

Detective Inspector Alan Pack of Sussex Police said: "The ladders have clearly been well used over some years.

"The long ladder has distinctive black and yellow paint splash marks and each has some worn labelling.

"We hope someone in the decorating or building trade, or maybe someone who just had them at home, will realise that they are now missing them, and will contact us.

"If you recognise them, please contact us either online or by calling 101, quoting Operation Deuce.

The Argus:

"In addition, if you were in Arundel and saw any suspicious activity around the area of the castle, either that evening or in the previous few days - as the castle only re-opened to visitors on Tuesday May 18 - please let us know.

"If you are offered or hear of anyone offering for sale any of the items stolen, we would also like to hear from you.

The Argus:

"You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."