THIEVES broke into Blenheim Palace this morning and stole a £1m gold toilet.

Read the latest on the break-in here

The group broke into the palace and ripped out the toilet, leaving behind 'significant damage and flooding'. 

The palace has now released an official statement about the toilet theft.

They made off with the 18-carat loo, which was only plumbed into the historic palace in Woodstock last week as part of an art installation. 

Visitors were invited to sit on the golden throne.

Thames Valley Police have arrested a 66-year-old man in connection with the incident, which happened at about 4.50am this morning, but say they believe a group was working with 'at least' two vehicles to pull it off.

Inspector Richard Nicholls, from Thames Valley Police, addressed journalists at a press conference this afternoon.

He said: "CCTV is one of the aspects we are looking on and that will come out in due course."

When asked if he believed a reception party held on the same night of the exhibition's launch could be connected, Insp Nicholls said: "I am not aware of the reception party personally, but that would form part of our enquiries in order to ascertain events leading up to the item being stolen."

Wiltshire Business Online:

The toilet installed at Blenheim. Picture: Tom Lindboe/Blenheim Art Foundation/PA Wire

Asked if anything else was stolen, he added: "As far as I am aware we are just looking at that high value item."

Insp Nicholls said he 'can't give any comment' as to how access to the property was made, adding: "It would be speculation at the moment."

Police are trying to track down the toilet, and have appealed to anybody who may have 'heard something suspicious.'

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The artwork, named America, was created by Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan, and drew large crowds when it was exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. 

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.

“Due to the toilet being plumbed into the building, this has caused significant damage and flooding.

“We believe a group offenders used at least two vehicles during the offence.

“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.

“Residents will see an increased police presence in the area while officers and staff carry out enquiries.

“I am appealing to anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area to contact police."

Blenheim Palace announced on Twitter that it will be shut for the rest of the day, and released a statment about the 'extraordinary' events.

Thousands of people have commented on the burglary, which has been reported on internationally, and Blenheim Palace is now trending on Twitter.

Event Site Design work at the palace and this morning also took to the social media site to say they had been caught up in a 'bit of trouble'.

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 was quoted in Times stating: "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 had initially warned visitors that it would be closed until at least 2pm.

Anybody who has 'heard something suspicious' should call police on 101 quoting URN 273 (14/9).