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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 July, 2003, 03:35 GMT 04:35 UK
Russian literary 'nose' turns up
A marble statue of a huge nose inspired by a famous literary tale has been tracked down by Russian police - almost a year after it went missing in St Petersburg.

The sculpture weighing 100kg (220lbs) was found in a city apartment block, the head of the city's sculpture museum said.

"Both the residents and the police who found the nose treated it with affection," Vladimir Timofeyev was quoted as saying.

It was erected eight years ago in honour of The Nose - Nikolai Gogol's 1835 short story about a nose that detaches itself and goes for a bizarre walkabout in St Petersburg.

The nose takes on a life of its own and wanders about the city with its owner, a civil servant, in hot pursuit.

The piece went missing last September from the house where the hero is supposed to have lived.

Police said at the time they thought a collector was probably behind the theft, given the weight of the statue and the degree of difficulty in removing it from its position on the facade of a St Petersburg building.

St Petersburg is a focus for gangs involved in organised art theft.

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