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Friday, 14 February, 2003, 16:18 GMT
Stolen Beatles tapes found in Australia
The Beatles
The tapes were stolen from Abbey Road studios in 1969
Stolen reel-to-reel tapes thought to be original studio recordings by the Beatles have been found in Australia.

Police recovered a recording of the White album - officially titled The Beatles - and one of the Abbey Road album as well as original artwork.

They had been advertised for sale in the listings section of a Sydney newspaper.

Detectives arrested a 27-year-old man after uncovering the haul, but he was later released without charge.

Beatles reel-to-reel tape
Reel-to-reel tapes are sought after by collectors

Australian police were tipped off by British detectives from Operation Acetone, an investigation into thefts of original Beatles music from Abbey Road studios in London in the 1960s and 1970s.

The attempt to sell them was reported to Acetone detectives following publicity over an operation two weeks ago in which 500 tapes, dubbed the Get Back sessions, were recovered.

Five people were arrested in London and the Netherlands and are still on police bail.

Two of those arrested were thought to have worked at Abbey Road studios.

They had allegedly tried to sell the tapes for 270,000.

Challenge

For many fans and collectors, original reel-to-reel tapes are the equivalent of the Holy Grail.

Although not quite as popular as their vinyl counterparts, reel tapes have gained in popularity and appreciation among collectors.

The challenge for collectors is to find them in mint condition.

Unlike an LP, the shrink wrap had to be completely removed to use the product, exposing them to wear.

They were never stored in protective bags and were usually stacked in piles with other tapes so very few copies remain in factory sealed condition.

Investigations into the Abbey Road thefts are being carried out by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and the City of London Police's central detective unit.

See also:

11 Feb 03 | England
10 Jan 03 | Entertainment
22 Dec 02 | England
17 Dec 02 | Entertainment
29 Nov 02 | Entertainment
28 Nov 01 | Entertainment
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