Gouache on paper, title "Rue Chaude a Marseille" by Raoul Dufy.
Pastelle on paper. Titled, "Coin d'interieur" byEdouard Vuillard.
LSAD 50648Oil on canvas, titled "Nu Couche"byPeirre Bonard.
After the recent mysterious recoveries of stolen art, Magritte painting, Helen Blumenfeld sculpture etc I thought it time to reveal the circumstances behind this recovery of stolen art by the Whiley Old Fox of Scotland Yard Richard "Tricky, Dicky" Ellis.
Those of you familiar with Stolen Vermeer and Art Hostage blogs will know of my incessant harping on about how rewards are impossible to collect, unless you are ex-Police, or have a Comfort Letter from Police giving absolute discretion to insurers or victims to pay a reward.
Well here is the proof that those who seek rewards for information leading to the recovery of stolen art are "Pissing in the wind" and the only thing informants can expect is an interview under caution by Police and a file sent to the Crown Prosecution service with view to bringing criminal charges for complicit knowledge and trying to obtain a reward for selling stolen art back to insurers or victims.
Two years ago these three paintings were stolen from a dealer and entered the Underworld.
A Second Hand Car dealer with criminal connections approached Dick Ellis and said he could provide information that would lead to the recovery of the three stolen paintings and he wanted to claim the £50,000 reward.
Tricky Dicky Ellis engaged with this go-between and started to negotiate.
Dick Ellis pointed out to this go-between in an explicit, carefully worded E-mail, that once the paintings were recovered he would be interviewed by London Met Police from the Acton area of London and if Police were satisfied he was not involved with the theft and subsequent handling of the stolen artworks he would receive a letter of absolute discretion, Comfort Letter in the trade, thus allowing insurers to pay the £ 50,000 reward.
What the go-between did not realise, due to lack of research, was that under both the 1968 Theft Act sections 21, 22, 23, and 27 and the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act it is an offence to reward anyone involved with the theft or subsequent handling of stolen property.
The go-between when interviewed, told Police he bought the paintings from someone who had purchased them from the thieves and he wanted to do the right thing and return them to their rightful owner.
From that moment on it would be unlawful to pay this man a reward and Police forwarded a file to the Crown Prosecution Service with view to bringing criminal charges against the Go-between, who was bailed to attend the Acton Police station when the C.P.S. came to a decision.
Less than happy the go-between began a concerted campaign of abuse towards Dick Ellis accusing Tricky Dicky of setting him up and stinging him into returning the paintings.
Furthermore, adding fuel to the fire, Tricky Dicky Ellis, the toast of the Art Insurance world, collected the reward for himself.
The Go-Between is telling the Underworld that Tricky Dick Ellis negociated a reward of 40%, some £500,000 still saving the insurers a million.
By now the Go-between was incandescent with rage and was consulting his lawyer about launching a legal action against Police, Dick Ellis and insurers.
The Crown Prosecution Service decide there was not enough evidence to convict and criminal charges were not issued against the Go-between.
This only made the Go-between more determined to seek revenge on Dick Ellis and threats of an unfortunate nature have been going around the Underworld.
Dick Ellis, well aware of these threats has moved home twice now in the last six months.
Dick Ellis now lives at a secret location far outside London in a modest little house, above.
The moral of this story is anyone with information about the whereabouts of stolen art must first consult a lawyer about their legal position. Payments of reward money is impossible as demonstrated, one excuse after another, it is a closed shop.
The only way this go-between could have received the £50,000 reward was if he had gone to Police with the name of the person holding the paintings, set up a meeting to purchase them, at the meeting the paintings are recovered, the handler arrested, charges bought with the Go-between becoming a prosecution witness.
Now, after about a twelve month wait the case is heard in court and afterwards, if there is a conviction, then and only then would Police issue the elusive letter of absolute discretion, "Comfort Letter" that would allow insurers to pay the £50,000 reward.
If there was not a conviction then Police would be reluctant to issue the letter of absolute discretion, although if the Go-between informer had given other valuable information that resulted in arrests he may get the letter as payment for all his informing.
Obviously, those with inside information about the whereabouts of stolen art are connected to the Underworld in some manner and because of the nature of this, Police use the lure of a reward to hook, haul, then cast back an informant when they become exposed and not of any more use to Police.
This tale does smack of the Frog and the Scorpion story below
The Scorpion and the Frog
One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change.
So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river.
The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn't see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.
Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream.
"Hellooo Mr. Frog!" called the scorpion across the water, "Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?"
"Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?" asked the frog hesitantly.
"Because," the scorpion replied, "If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!"
Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. "What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!"
"This is true," agreed the scorpion, "But then I wouldn't be able to get to the other side of the river!"
"Alright then...how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?" said the frog.
"Ahh...," crooned the scorpion, "Because you see, once you've taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!"
So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger.
The scorpion crawled onto the frog's back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog's soft hide, and the frog slid into the river.
The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown.
He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.
Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog's back.
A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.
"You fool!" croaked the frog, "Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?"
The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog's back.
"I could not help myself. It is my nature."
Then they both sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.
Self destruction - "Its my Nature", said the Scorpion...
Difference here was Dick Ellis as the Scorpion, got off the back of the Go-between, as the Frog, just as they reached the other side, the Frog Go-between sank, Dick Ellis the Scorpion carried on his way, with the reward money just for good measure.
This has some way to run, I'll keep you posted..........
This leads me nicely onto the current status of the Gardner Art Heist case, which I will address soon.