London

Man walks off with £40,000 statue from Mayfair gallery

Horizontal Birdman 1 Image copyright Met Police
Image caption The statue measure 40.5cm in length and 12cm in height

A thief has walked out of a Mayfair art gallery with a rare statue worth £40,000 tucked under his newspaper.

The Elisabeth Frink statue, Horizontal Birdman 1, was taken from the Beaux Arts gallery on Maddox Street.

The 1962 work is a limited edition piece which is inscribed on the underside with Frink 10/10.

The theft happened at the central London gallery at about 17:30 BST on 26 June but details of the crime have only just been released.

Co-owner of the gallery Patricia Singh said the suspect had been walking around the gallery before the theft.

She said: "He was walking around with a rolled-up newspaper and it was on a high shelf, so we rather assumed it was safe, and there was someone in the room the whole time.

"It's to my intense chagrin, we should be more vigilant, but you learn."

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption The Met said the suspect was about 6ft tall with medium length greying hair on the sides

Mrs Singh said the piece - which is 40.5cm in length and 12cm in height - was an early piece of work by the artist and therefore rare. It is owned by the gallery.

She said: "The police have got all our information and he was on our CCTV footage.

"It's very hard to sell a stolen piece because it's been registered and the auction houses are legally bound to check before they put it online and it is a known piece."

Scotland Yard said the suspect is described as a white man, about 6ft tall with medium-length hair that was greying on the sides.

He was wearing glasses, a light blue shirt and dark suit and was carrying a black sports bag.

Det Con Kevin Eade said: "It appears the suspect has specifically targeted this piece and picked his moment.

"He took his time first browsing around the art gallery and speaking with the manager before stealing the statue."

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