Indian sculptures stolen 40 years ago to be returned

Bronze sculpturesImage source, Met Police
Image caption,
One of the bronze idols was spotted on sale by a UK dealer

Three bronze sculptures stolen from an Indian temple more than 40 years ago are to be returned after they were spotted on sale in the UK.

Four idols were taken from the Tanjavur District in 1978 and though the thieves were convicted in India the pieces were lost.

Last year the Indian High Commission alerted Scotland Yard to a UK dealer offering one for sale.

Police said it was bought in good faith and no offence had been committed.

The Met said it had subsequently identified two more of the missing sculptures which would also be taken back to India.

Det Ch Insp Tim Wright called the idols "beautiful and historically significant".

He added that they were also "of religious importance so it's particularly gratifying that they are to be returned to the temple from which they were taken".

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