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The pieces were taken in 2005 from the home of their elderly owner. The Worthing Police conducted an investigation though no arrests were made. An insurance claim was paid, however.

The Art Loss Register located the items at a 2016 auction where all the pieces came from the same consignor. The auctioneers withdrew the piece and the police investigation was reopened but still no arrests were made. ALR entered the pieces at Woolley & Wallis’ Asian art sale on May 16 where the items sold for a combined total of £75,000. Proceeds went to the insurer that paid out the claim 12 years ago.

ALR’s James Ratcliffe said the result was “a clear indicator” of the benefit that specialist sales offer consignors.

Clive Stewart-Lockhart of Woolley & Wallis said: “We understand the added value that having our catalogues checked has. If we had sold these pieces without checking, It would have created huge problems going forward.”