Police have helped foil a burglary at Dulwich Picture Gallery during which two valuable paintings at a major Rembrandt exhibition were targeted.
Two paintings – neither of which “left the gallery’s grounds” were recovered.
Dulwich Picture Gallery’s website in a statement issued yesterday (Thursday) says: “Last night intruders attempted to remove two paintings from Dulwich Picture Gallery’s ‘Rembrandt’s Light’ exhibition.
“The intruders were detected by the gallery’s robust security systems and, thanks to the immediate intervention of security staff and the swift response of the Metropolitan Police, the paintings were secured at the scene.
“The exhibition and gallery will remain closed until further notice, to allow the police to conduct a full investigation into the incident.”*
A Metropolitan Police press release says: Officers were called at 23:30hrs on Wednesday, 13 November, to reports of an alarm at Dulwich Picture Gallery.
An intruder appears to have forced entry to the gallery and removed the two paintings, which were part of an exhibition.
Officers arrived minutes later and, following the search of the area, challenged an intruder and an officer gave chase. The intruder then turned and used a canister to spray the officer in the face with an unknown substance. As a result of this assault, the suspect was able to get away.
The officer who was sprayed did not suffer serious injuries and continued with his tour of duty.
“The officer located and recovered one painting, and in cooperation with security staff, the other painting was also quickly found. “Neither painting had left the gallery grounds and both remain in the gallery’s care.”
Det Insp Jason Barber from the Flying Squad said: “This was an audacious attempted burglary and was clearly planned in advance. “Two paintings in the exhibition were targeted and it was only down to the prompt response of gallery security staff and the courage and swift intervention of officers that these two works of art were not stolen. “Thankfully both the paintings were quickly recovered and secured.”
“Our enquires now centre on finding whoever was responsible for this crime and I would ask anyone with information to call police.”
Any witnesses or anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101 or contact via Twitter @MetCC. Quote CAD 8662/13NOV.
To give information anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org. (Source: Met Police press release)
*Readers are advised to check Dulwich Picture Gallery’s website as to when the gallery reopens – Ed.