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The move comes after detectives raided four homes in the Tameside area of Greater Manchester and arrested a 31-year-old from Hyde and three men aged 22, 24 and 36 from Denton.

As published in ATG No 1796, a £70,000 reward was offered for the recovery of the paintings, together worth over £1m, after a violent robbery on May 3 at the home of their owner, collector Ivan Aird, aged 41.

Armed robbers tied up Mr Aird after his wife Louise invited the men into their home thinking they were delivering post. The robbers threatened both her and the couple’s two-year-old daughter Sabrina.

Since a televised appeal showing Mr Aird offering the reward, and a reconstruction on BBC’s Crimewatch, a number of people have come forward to speak to Greater Manchester Police.

The most valuable paintings stolen were The Viaduct, estimated to be worth £700,000, and Tanker Entering the Tyne, valued at £600,000. The other three works being pencil sketches of The Surgery, The Bridge at Ringley and The Street Market, are together valued at more then £130,000.

Lowry’s palate and brushes were also taken during the robbery.