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The haul will go on display in a series of roadshows in a bid to trace the rightful owners.

And the Metropolitan Police will run a series of seminars designed for owners and collectors to highlight the need for them to keep good photographs and records of their property.

The initiative follows an operation by Scotland Yard’s specialist art and antiques unit, working alongside police forces in Southwark, Kensington and the Home Counties. Many of the objects recovered were stolen in major thefts from country houses, galleries, and private homes across the country. They were typically night-time burglaries carried out while victims were sleeping. The violence involved frequently left victims traumatised.

The recovered property includes silver stolen in the £1m break-in at the Petworth shop of Nicholas Shaw in July last year, when thieves slashed tyres of police patrol cars before removing the grille in a violent raid in the early hours of the morning. There are also miniatures taken from Madresfield Court in Worcestershire, where the culprits had rowed across the moat at night.

A collection of five paintings by John Sutton stolen from a London art dealer last year and a £50,000 painting by Thomas Sidney Cooper stolen from a house in Windsor are also amongst items recovered.

The Met say that the planned roadshows should take place over the next couple of months and that details will be available under Art and Antiques on their website at www.met.police.uk.

The police’s unveiling of their roadshow comes as three people face charges linked to the burglaries.

Anthony Green, 46, the owner of Flogg It auction house in Catford, his employee Gillian King, 50, and antiques dealer Cyril Charles, 78, face two counts of conspiracy to handle stolen goods and one count of money laundering.

They were due to appear at Inner London Crown Court as ATG went to press.