Police in the United Kingdom claimed to have solved the country's biggest art heist by arresting four people and recovering a stolen 30-million-pound Leonardo da Vinci painting.
Acting on a tip-off, detectives raided the offices of a law firm in Scotland and recovered the 16th century masterpiece, Madonna of the Yarnwinder, which was stolen from the home of the ninth Duke of Buccleuch in 2003. A Glasgow lawyer was among four held in this connection.
"We are extremely pleased to recover the painting. The recovery is down to extensive police inquiries and the combined efforts of several Scottish police forces. For four years, police staff have worked tirelessly on the theft and with help from the public we have been able to track down and locate the painting," Chief Inspector Mickey Dalgleish said. <b1>
The painting was subsequently authenticated by the National Gallery of Scotland.
According to media reports, despite the priceless nature of the painting, the late Duke, who died last month, had already received an insurance pay-out of just over three million pound as the collection was under-insured.
"We express our gratitude to the police for the determined way in which they have pursued their investigation and look forward to receiving further information in due course," the new Duke of Buccleuch was quoted as saying.
The theft on August 27, 2003, stunned the art world. Two men posing as tourists taking a tour of the Duke's castle near Dumfries overpowered a young female tour guide before snatching the painting from its wall mountings.