A stolen painting by British artist Stanley Spencer was returned to its owners five years after it was taken when authorities located the $1.3 million piece of work under a drug dealer’s bed, next to cocaine and ecstasy tablets, officials said.
Authorities located the painting, titled “Cookham from Englefield” and worth 1 million pounds ($1.3 million), after raiding Harry Fisher’s apartment in Kingston-Upon-Thames, southwest of London in the United Kingdom, the U.K. government said on Sunday. Fisher, 28, was caught last June when police stopped him in a Mercedes and found cocaine and about $40,000 in cash.
Police conducted a raid and found the valuable painting hidden under Fisher’s bed. Another 3 kilograms of cocaine and 15,000 ecstasy tablets were discovered next to it.
The painting by Sir Stanley Spencer was placed in Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham until thieves broke into the building in 2012 and took it.
“The owners said they were devastated at the loss of the painting, which was of great sentimental value,” the government wrote in a news release.
“Spencer is one our most renowned painters and a true great of the 20th century. It is wonderful that this story has had a happy ending and the painting has been returned to its rightful owners,” Arts Minister Michael Ellis said.
The painting was returned to its owners last month.
Fisher was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, acquiring criminal property and handling stolen goods.
Zak Lal, 32, the passenger in Fisher’s car when they were first stopped, was also sentenced to five years and eight months in jail after he admitted to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, acquiring criminal property and possession of an offensive weapon.