Police foil attempted burglary of Rembrandt paintings from south London gallery

14 November 2019, 16:17

File photo: Dulwich Picture Gallery was targeted on Wednesday night
File photo: Dulwich Picture Gallery was targeted on Wednesday night. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Police have foiled an attempted burglary after two valuable Rembrandt paintings were targeted at a south London gallery.

Two intruders forced entry into the Dulwich Picture Gallery late on Wednesday night and removed the paintings, which were part of an exhibition.

Officers arrived minutes later and, following the search of the area, challenged an intruder and ran after them when they fled.

The intruder then turned and used a canister to spray the officer in the face with an unknown substance, allowing them to escape.

With the help of security staff, they quickly found both paintings.

The officer who was sprayed did not suffer serious injuries and continued his shift.

Neither painting had left the gallery grounds and both remain in the gallery’s care.

Detectives from the Flying Squad are investigating.

Detective Inspector 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.”

The exhibition featured 35 pieces of the Dutch artist's work and included paintings loaned by the Louvre in Paris and Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum.

In a statement, the Dulwich Picture Gallery said: "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."

Any witnesses or anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101 or contact via Twitter @MetCC. Quote CAD 8662/13NOV.