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The unit’s detective constables Ray Swan and Sophie Hayes returned to the department on December 4, working with their new supervisor detective sergeant, Rob Upham, who recently joined from the Met’s Homicide and Serious Crime Command. The art crime squad had been without a lead since Claire Hutcheon left in March 2016.

Upham told ATG: “We’ve already started instigating investigations, have already yielded one arrest and from another investigation have recovered two paintings, previously reported stolen.”

“We’ve already started instigating investigations

Unit reformed

A Met police spokesman confirmed the unit has been reformed, adding: “A third detective constable is due to be added to the team in the next few months.”

As first revealed in ATG, the disbanding of the team had occurred during the summer when detectives were seconded to the Grenfell investigation.

The unit has been temporarily closed in the past, for instance following the July 2005 bombings. However, this year there were fears it would be permanently closed due to budgetary pressures.