Leading local artist Terry Bradley’s joy at having his stolen paintings recovered
THE wife of one of Northern Ireland’s leading artists has spoken of the family’s delight at the recovery of thousands of pounds worth of paintings stolen last year.
The artworks — recovered during a police raid in west Belfast — were some of the 50 original paintings and prints by Terry Bradley stolen from a pop-up gallery in Belfast city centre last year.
Following the theft in November 2016, his wife Ashley Bradley, a gallery manager, said she was “devastated”.
But a police swoop on premises in St Mary’s Gardens in Beechmount on Thursday recovered seven of the missing paintings, including a large-scale original work called ‘Lucky’.
Police also found a quantity of ammunition during the search of the property, as well as a magazine from a firearm.
It’s believed the stolen art was discovered in a lock-up at the rear of the property.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, Ashley said she had almost given up hope of any of the stolen paintings ever being recovered.
When she got the phone call from the PSNI about the raid she was a little sceptical, as there had been a couple of false alarms since the theft, when the police had notified the couple of the recovery of artworks, but which turned out not to be by Bradley.
“But as soon as I saw the picture I knew these were some of the ones stolen last year,” she said. “I’m over the Moon. I can’t believe it.
“We also got back a big hand-embellished canvas titled ‘Never Give Up’, which has just today been sold to a buyer in England. “We are delighted. We’d almost given up all hope of getting any of them back.
“It’s a really good feeling for all of us.
“It gives us hope that the other paintings and prints may yet be recovered.”
Ashley said that the couple were preparing to open a new gallery at High Street in Bangor at the start of next month.
She told the Belfast Telegraph that the ‘Lucky’ piece would be the centrepiece at the opening.
The PSNI said: “Following a search, police recovered a magazine and a significant quantity of ammunition. The items were recovered in the St Mary’s Gardens area of Beechmount.
“Police also recovered a number of pieces of artwork that are suspected stolen property.”
We are delighted. We’d almost given up all hope of getting any of them back ... it’s a really good feeling
Ashley Bradley after the theft last year, and (below) with husband Terry. Right: One of the painter’s works