Page last updated at 15:12 GMT, Thursday, 21 January 2010

Stolen artwork returns to library

Police removing the painting from railings
Police are continuing to investigate how the painting went missing

A valuable painting which was stolen from an Edinburgh legal library has been returned.

A member of staff found the I Cannae Hear Ye watercolour hanging on a railing outside the Signet Library on Thursday morning.

The painting, by Borders artist Tom Scott, had been stolen earlier this month.

The library, which is based in Edinburgh's Parliament Square, is used by some of Scotland's top lawyers.

It houses The Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet, an independent body of lawyers.

It was a mystery as to why it was taken in the first place and its return only adds to the mystery
Robert Pirrie
Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet

The library played host to a New Year party for 200 people. The painting, which has been valued at about £4,000, was stolen some time between then and 5 January.

Robert Pirrie, chief executive of the Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet, last week offered an amnesty to the thief if the painting was returned to the library.

He said he was thrilled to have the painting back, but that it was still a mystery as to why it had been taken in the first place.

Mr Pirrie added that the artwork had been found at 0815 GMT when the building was opened up by one of the hall keepers.

"It was hanging on the back of the gate by its picture cord at the west entrance on Parliament Square," he said.

I Cannae Hear Ye by Tom Scott
The watercolour vanished shortly after a New Year party

"There was no note left with the painting, and it appeared to be undamaged. There's been a lot of publicity attached to the theft and it would have been very difficult to have sold the painting on as all of the auction houses and galleries were aware that it had been stolen.

"We're just glad the person who took it returned it, rather than just discarding it. It was a mystery as to why it was taken in the first place and its return only adds to the mystery."

Lothian and Borders Police said they were continuing to investigate the painting's disappearance.

A spokesman said: "Obviously, we are delighted for the library that the painting has been returned.

"Nevertheless, we still must establish whether any criminality was involved when the painting was taken.

"Anyone with information that can assist with our enquiries should contact police immediately."

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Painting stolen from law library
14 Jan 10 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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