Police are appealing for information leading to the whereabouts of a painting, after a man was jailed for its theft.
Paul Whiting walked into a private members’ club in West London in November last year, and stole the painting, worth £5,000.
On Monday, 11 February, Paul Whiting, 73 (11.01.46) of Lampton Road, Hounslow pleaded guilty to one count of theft.
Whiting also pleaded guilty at Isleworth Crown Court to a separate count of burglary relating to an offence at Fenton House - a National Trust property in North West London - where he stole a barometer, subsequently returning it the following day.
On Wednesday 3 April, he was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.
On 23 November 2018, a man was seen to enter the reception area of the private members’ club carrying two empty plastic bags. CCTV showed him walk through into a members-only area and later walk out again carrying a wooden-framed square object in one of the plastic bags.
Staff quickly realised that the painting, called ‘Park’ by the artist Frederick Deane, was stolen, and called police. It was established that Whiting had entered a guest bedroom and removed the painting, which had been screwed to the wall.
Whiting was identified from CCTV by detectives from the Met’s Arts and Antiques Unit.
He was also responsible for another burglary the previous year. On 15 June 2017, shortly after 17:00hrs, Whiting went to Fenton House, NW3 and removed a barometer from the wall. At the time, the property was closed to the public for a private function. The following day at about 12:15hrs, Whiting returned to the house and rang the doorbell. The manager answered the door to Whiting, who handed back the barometer, wrapped in bubble wrap.
In this case, Whiting was identified forensically by his fingerprint on the bubble wrap.
Detective Constable Sophie Hayes, from the Art and Antiques Unit, said: “Paul Whiting is a prolific thief who specifically targets works of art. He often sells the pieces on to people who are unaware of his criminal activities.
"The painting stolen in this case has not yet been located and I appeal to anyone who may have inadvertently bought this painting to contact the Art and Antiques Unit.”
Anyone with any information regarding the whereabouts of the painting ‘Park’ by Frederick Deane, is asked to contact the Met on 101, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or email: artandantiques-SCD6@met.police.uk