Leonardo extortion trial date set
Five men accused of demanding £4.25m for the return of a Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece will face trial next year.
The Madonna with the Yarnwinder was taken from Drumlanrig Castle near Dumfries in August 2003.
The five men - three from Lancashire and two from near Glasgow - have been charged with conspiracy to extort or attempting to extort the money.
Four of them deny the charges while the fifth has made no plea. A trial date has been set for 30 March next year.
The five men have been charged with conspiracy to extort or attempting to extort the money from the late Duke of Buccleuch, his son and insurers.
They are also accused of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.
Robert Graham, 56, and John Doyle, 59, both of Ormskirk; Calum Jones, 43, of Kilmacolm; and David Boyce, 61, of Airdrie, deny the offences.
Marshall Ronald, 52, of Skelmersdale, has made no plea.
The offences are alleged to have taken place between 18 July and 4 October last year.
At the High Court in Glasgow, Advocate Duncan McPhie, representing Mr Ronald, said a defence of entrapment was currently being investigated.
He asked for a further preliminary hearing to be held next month.
Judge Lord Brailsford set a trial date for 30 March next year, but said if any serious problems arose a new date would have to be found.
The trial is expected to last four weeks.
The masterpiece, which was painted between 1500 and 1530, has an estimated value of £30m.
It belongs to the Duke of Buccleuch and has been in his family for 200 years.