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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 17:35 GMT
Huge art haul found in Paris van
Arc de Triomphe, Paris
The paintings were in a van near the Champs-Elysees, Paris
More than 250 stolen paintings have been recovered from a parked van in Paris, French police have said.

The haul includes one Picasso, two works by French painter Raoul Dufy and one by Dutch artist Kees van Dongen.

The discovery comes after an 18-month investigation into a burglary from the home of the Lacoste clothing heir.

Police arrested three suspects and also seized two kilograms (4.4 pounds) of cocaine and several firearms at the scene near the Champs-Elysees.


The 258 paintings are now being studied to see if they were taken during the single burglary.

The heir to a textile empire that includes the Lacoste label was attacked by armed masked men at his home in Breviandes, near Reims, in north-east France, in May 2002.

The thieves tied him and his family members up and made off with almost all of his art collection.

A wide inquiry was launched by local and national police, which led them to investigate several families of travellers.

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