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Sculptor 'amazed' after stolen horse statue spotted on TV

Bronze horse sculpture Image copyright Hertfordshire Police
Image caption The bronze "Curved Neck Grace" sculpture had been stolen from its owner's home in 2009

A sculptor says he is "amazed" one of his works which had been stolen years ago has been recovered after being spotted on television.

John W Mills' bronze horse, "Curved Neck Grace", was taken from a garden in St Ipployts, Hertfordshire, in 2009.

It was spotted by the owner's daughter during a BBC Inside Out East report from a traveller's site in Dunstable.

"I never expected to see it again," Mr Mills said after police brought the horse statue to his studio to identify.

"Normally when a sculpture gets stolen, you suspect it's either gone for scrap, or out of the country or destroyed.

"I was amazed to hear it was so close to home."

Hertfordshire Police said the rightful owner had bought the sculpture in 1983 and had displayed it in her garden for 26 years before it was stolen.

Image caption The sculpture, pictured underneath a tree in the foreground, was recovered from a site in Dunstable

The owner's daughter spotted what she believed to be the statue when watching Inside Out in November, before contacting Mr Mills and the police.

"As soon as we received the report, we quickly began to make inquiries and were delighted to confirm that it was the stolen 'Curved Neck Grace' when we visited the site," said Sgt Jon Vine.

"We hope that the statue will now go to a good home and will be displayed in a safe environment where people can fully appreciate it."

Mr Mills said he would welcome the opportunity to work on the statue again.

"If it goes to auction, I'd like the opportunity to make sure it's in good condition and has new fixings.

"It would be very nice to work on a piece that old."

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