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Any object which is uniquely describable, which many antique items are if well described and photographed, can be registered after theft with the Art Loss Register and may then be matched against 500,000 searches a year of items at 160 different auction houses, fairs and dealers.

These matches lead to recoveries, intelligence and arrests.

Watches are of course the easiest, with over 600 matches in 2022 and 2023 likely to exceed that.

It is a myth that most stolen jewellery is melted down; it loses far too much value and could be recovered if registered.

Julian Radcliffe OBE

Chairman, The Art Loss Register, London