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Last Updated: Monday, 1 September, 2003, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
Fresh lead in da Vinci theft
Thieves with painting
The pair initially made off in a white Volkswagen
Detectives investigating the theft of a Leonardo da Vinci painting from a Scottish castle are searching for a possible second getaway car.

Madonna with the Yarnwinder was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway last week by two men posing as tourists.

Dumfries and Galloway Police want to speak to anyone who saw a black BMW on the back road between nearby Carronbridge and Mitchellslacks between 0930 and 1130 BST on Wednesday.

It was seen travelling west and was then spotted again later on that same morning.

Police have been conducting forensic tests on a Volkswagen Golf GTi which was driven from the castle and found abandoned in woodland on Wednesday evening.

CCTV images

The stolen da Vinci painting is thought to be worth about 30m.

Insurers have offered a reward for information leading to the return of the painting, which is considered the most important artwork stolen in the UK for decades.

Police have issued an e-fit and CCTV images of the suspects, who escaped with the painting after overpowering a female member of staff at the castle.

The castle is owned by the Duke of Buccleuch, who is one of Britain's richest landowners, and contains may famous works of art and antiques.

The Earl of Dalkeith
The earl believes the painting will be returned
It is open to the public during the summer months, and 7 September was scheduled to be the last day of the summer season.

However, closure has now been brought forward and Sunday was the last day for visitors to the castle.

The duke's family said a key factor in opening on Sunday was to make a commitment to public viewings following Wednesday's theft.

However, the Earl of Dalkeith, the duke's son, said the raid had forced them to close the castle early - though the gardens would remain open throughout September.

He expressed confidence that the artwork would be found.

The earl said: "Although we are obviously extremely gloomy at the moment, we are determined to do what we can in encouraging those who can recover the painting to do so.

"Deep down I believe that it may be a matter of time, but one day she (the painting) will be back at Drumlanrig."


SEE ALSO:
Da Vinci theft castle reopens
31 Aug 03  |  Scotland
Da Vinci thieves caught on film
29 Aug 03  |  Scotland
What happens to stolen art?
29 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
'Reward' for painting's return
28 Aug 03  |  Scotland
Divisions over da Vinci work
28 Aug 03  |  Scotland
Da Vinci painting stolen
27 Aug 03  |  Scotland


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