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Medieval oak panels stolen from Torbryan church back in place

22 May 2015


POLICE have recovered two 15th-century decorative oak panels panels, stolen from the rood screen in Holy Trinity, Torbryan, in Devon, in 2013 (News, 16 August 2013). The Metropolitan Police Art and Antiques Unit was alerted after a collector spotted the panels in a specialist online sale.​

The discovery led to a raid by specialist detectives in south London, in January. On Wednesday, the Churches Conservation Trust launched an appeal for £7000 to repair damage inflicted when the panels, which bear images of St Victor of Marseilles and St Margaret of Antioch, were hacked from the screen.

West Mercia Police are now investigating the theft as part of Operation Icarus, which has re- covered church artefacts including stonework, friezes, statues, paintings, brasses, misericords, stained glass, and bibles.

The historian and TV presenter Dan Cruickshank, who backed the original campaign to find the stolen panels, said: "I'm delighted that these artworks - once feared lost for ever - have been recovered by the police. The panels are irreplaceable examples of an important period in our art and history, and pieces like this help us to learn about who we are as a society. They should belong to everyone."



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