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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 August, 2004, 18:59 GMT 19:59 UK
Policeman damages royal painting
St James's Palace
The accident happened at St James's Palace
A valuable royal painting at St James's Palace has been accidentally damaged by a police officer who tripped and left a gaping hole in its canvas.

The News Of The World claimed the work, by a minor 19th century artist, was worth 1m before the incident.

The paper said the officer was standing on a chair closing a window when he fell and damaged the painting.

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed the incident but said no action would be taken as it was "an accident".

He said: "At 20.30 on August 10 a police officer accidentally damaged a painting at St James's Palace while carrying out routine duties.

"There will be no action taken because it was an accident."

A spokeswoman from the Royal Collection later declined to reveal the value of the painting, and said the damage was not permanent.

"It is possible to reweave the canvass to produce invisible repairs," she said.

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