‘Gentleman’ thief apologises, returns violin to owner

South London – A stolen violin worth £250 000 is back with its owner after the ‘gentlemanly’ thief arranged a cloak-and-dagger handover in a Waitrose car park.

Violinist Stephen Morris left the 1709 instrument on a South London train last month. CCTV footage revealed that another passenger then took it.

After a police appeal, the thief contacted Mr Morris on Twitter and arranged to meet in the car park in Beckenham, South London, on Friday night.

Tensions were high as officers waited for the thief, in his 20s and using a fake name, to arrive. Then, out of the darkness, he appeared and handed over the violin.

Mr Morris, who has recorded with David Bowie and Stevie Wonder, said: "He was very apologetic and said he wanted to hand it to me in person.

"It couldn’t have ended in a happier way."

Police said they would not charge the man because he took reasonable steps to contact the violin owner and had handed it back. A detective said: ‘It was a gentlemanly exchange.’

Mail On Sunday

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