Disabled Gloucester artist has work stolen from gallery

Image caption, Mr Jephcott's knuckles have been replaced because of severe arthritis

Artwork created by a man severely disabled with arthritis has been stolen from an exhibition in Gloucestershire.

Mark Jephcott, 40, said he should be flattered by the theft as he was just starting out, but that his work had taken a lot of pain to create.

The four painted works and one carving were taken from an exhibition in a shop on Silver Street, Dursley, on Monday night.

Gloucestershire Constabulary said officers were investigating the thefts.

The spokesman said the stolen works, worth a total of £1,145, are called Death Metal, Inscape, Cybernetic Make-Up, Human Beans and Evolution.

Mr Jephcott's work was exhibited as part on the On View Dursley project, a Stroud District Council initiative to convert vacant shops into temporary art galleries.

He had been exhibiting around 15 pieces of his Surreal collection at the shop since 16 July.

Mr Jephcott, of Gloucester, said: "On the one hand having my work stolen and thieves having gone to such lengths to get my art should be flattering, after all it is the kind of thing that happens to the top artists like Picasso.

"However it has taken me a long time to get this collection and finally galleries are interested in taking my work and I finally am breaking through into the art world and someone steals a big portion of my collection.

Image caption, The five stolen works are worth a total of £1,145

"I have arthritis severely in my hands, they are deformed and I have had replaced knuckle joints and it hurts me to paint and draw and takes a lot longer than someone with none of my difficulties."

His wife, Caroline, said: "He is struggling to try and make it in a tough competitive art world and for this to have happened has left him feeling very disheartened.

"I feel angry with these thieves as they don't see him in the evening trying to prize his hands open after a day of painting, and in agony as he does it."

She added: "Galleries and auctioneers need to be warned that there are five pieces of Mark's work that have gone and they may well be approached by the culprit in an attempt to sell it on."

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