AN inquiry is under way into why the alarm system at a museum failed

during the theft of valuable items belonging to the Burrell Collection.

The theft was discovered by staff at the children's museum in Haggs

Castle, St Andrew's Drive, Glasgow, on Thursday morning. It appears that

thieves using a ladder broke in through an upstairs window and took the

items from various parts of the museum.

Missing are a Tigerware jug from the late 16th century, one of a

handful in existence and said to be ''priceless'', an oil painting,

Children Wading, by the 19th-century Scottish artist Robert Gemmill

Hutcheson valued at #8000, and seven china face dolls valued at about

#1000 each.

The items were among artefacts on loan from the Burrell Collection for

a number of exhibitions and attractions. The painting was among several

pictures depicting children at play, the dolls were in a Victorian

playroom setting, while the jug was part of a display centred around

Mary Queen of Scots, in whose era it was made.

Mr Tony Browning, acting director of museums and art galleries for

Glasgow District Council, said: ''I am awaiting a full report from my

staff and the alarm company responsible for the electronic system which

operates at the museum.

''I do not wish to speculate at this stage as to what took place but

both the window and one of the display cases which contained items which

were stolen were connected to the alarm system and the alarm does not

appear to have operated.

''There could be whole lot of reasons for this but clearly we will

have to conduct a full inquiry into the incident in conjunction with the

police and the alarm company.''

The stolen jug is just over 7in tall, of stoneware and silver gilt

hallmarked London 10-73-4, with the maker's mark indecipherable. The

painting is on cardboard, 9in by 12in, with a frame register number of


Museum staff and police hope that the items will be of no value to the

thieves and that they will be left somewhere to be recovered. ''We just

hope that someone will find them and get them back to where they can

give pleasure to many people,'' said an official.

It is not uncommon for items from the Burrell Collection to be lent to

other museums and galleries as only one-third of the collection can be

displayed in the Burrell gallery in Pollok Park at any one time.

Museums officials are unlikely to review this policy although security

is certain to come under scrutiny in the wake of the theft.

Detectives at Pollok have asked anyone with information to contact

them on 041-883 0491.