Damien Hirst art works stolen from Notting Hill Gallery
Two signed Damien Hirst works of art worth £33,000 have been stolen from a west London gallery four days after being displayed.
The pieces were taken from the Exhibitionist Gallery in Notting Hill in the early hours of Monday.
The stolen works, called Pyronin Y and Oleoylsarcosine, feature multi-coloured dots.
Police believe the artworks were specifically targeted and want witnesses to come forward.
'Take us under'
Gallery Manager Nathan Engelbrecht said his "heart sank" when he received a phone call from the police informing him of the break-in.
He said: "We opened in September and it was a bit of a coup to get the Hirst artworks. We had them for four days and then they were stolen.
"We wanted Hirst to be in the Christmas show and to help raise our profile and to show people we can get the big names in, so it's a big hit and here's hoping insurance will cover it, if it doesn't it will probably take us under.
"It took us a few weeks of negotiations and to have them stolen is really disappointing. They [Damien Hirst's representatives] have been understanding that these things do happen."
Pyronin Y is the larger of the two measuring 40in (1m) by 46in (1.2m). It was produced in 2005 and is worth £15,000.
Oleoylsarcosine was created in 2008 and is worth £18,000. Its dimensions are 26in (67cm) x 35in (89cm).
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said just one person carried out the theft and he may have left in a car.
Det Sgt Jon Lightfoot said: "It appears the suspect has specifically targeted the two pieces.
"The items would have been visible in the back of the car and we are appealing for any witnesses or anyone with information to please come forward."
Mr Engelbrecht said: "We think we were specifically targeted because on Monday we're closed, and they went for the specific paintings. There were other Hirst works and other big-named artists downstairs.
"At the moment, we're literally on the phone trying to find some new artwork for the Christmas season."
Hirst rose to fame as part of a group known as the Young British Artists and is probably best known for a series of works in which he preserved animals, including a shark and a sheep, in formaldehyde.
He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1995.
Hirst's more recent works include Verity, a 66ft bronze-plated statue of a pregnant, naked woman wielding a sword, which was unveiled on Ilfracombe harbour in north Devon in October 2012.
A spokesman for the artist said: "This is a police matter and I'm afraid we cannot comment."