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Monday, June 11, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Charlie Hill, Dick Ellis & Mark Dalrymple, Sting's Set Up's Arrests & Convictions Remembered

Mark Dalrymple above Dick Ellis of 

Charlie Hill above

Twas the year 1992 and Charlie Hill, Mark Dalrymple & Dick Ellis were riding the crest of a set up wave, stinging people who tried to hand back stolen art.
"In 1994 the art-and-antiques squad was on a roll. After some years in abeyance, it had been revived in 1989.
It had an immediate success, recovering several paintings stolen from the Beit collection in Ireland in 1986, and notching a further coup in 1992 when it recovered a painting by Pieter Brueghel, Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery, stolen from London's Courtauld gallery 10 years before.
The fate of the Brueghel is illuminating. Since the Brueghel - like the Turners - was unsaleable on the open market, it is likely to have been used instead as an alternative currency within the criminal world, whose denizens like to talk of 'laying down' stolen paintings, like vintage wine, until their value can be realised.
It may also have been used as collateral for funds raised for drugs or other criminal deals. Sometimes, says Mark Dalrymple, head of the loss adjusters Tyler and Co, who specialise in the art market, these deals can become quite labyrinthine, 'and you end up with half a dozen people having an interest in the picture'.
By 1991 the Brueghel had reached a high-ranking London criminal, who decided to cash in his investment.
He commissioned four minor London villains to sell it on his behalf. Somewhat naively, they telephoned Christie's to ask how much 'a Brueghel' was worth.
Then they called the director of the Courtauld, Dr Dennis Farr, and told him they had purchased the Brueghel only to discover it was stolen - and the Courtauld could have it back for £2m. Both Christie's and Farr told the art-and-antiques squad about the gang's approach.
The squad's head was Dick Ellis, a detective sergeant renowned for his talents for running stings, above all in devising some extra ingredient to give them plausibility or 'edge'. 'There's an art to running an undercover operation,' Ellis says now. 'You've got to be imaginative.' ('They are quite fun,' he adds.)
Ellis now constructed a sting to recover the Brueghel. He recruited two characters: one was Farr, who would play himself. The other was to be a brash American, a part to be taken by one of the Yard's undercover officers, Charley Hill, who had spent much of his life in the US - his father was American - even serving as an officer in Vietnam.
The edge to the sting lay in introducing a whiff of illegality that would appeal to the sellers. Farr told them that the Courtauld Institute could not be seen to buy back a stolen painting, and anyway did not have £2m at its disposal.
However, Hill was a wealthy American who was willing to buy the painting on the Courtauld's behalf.
It worked to perfection. The sellers were invited to meet Farr and Hill at the Savoy hotel in London. They were still asking £2m for the painting, and Hill showed them a bag containing 'show money', or the 'flash' - £100,000, the maximum the police were allowed to draw. The sellers, says Hill, 'effed and blinded and said it wasn't good enough' and walked out. The police already had ample evidence and the four men were arrested, receiving sentences of up to five years. (The Brueghel was found at the home of an alleged accomplice, who claimed he did not know it was stolen and was acquitted.) "


Anonymous said...

Quick buck artists, don't trust any of them

Anonymous said...

I work in the Fine Art Insurance Industry and can honestly say Mark Dalrymple is an Arrogant, self-serving, duplicitous, habitual liar and is disliked,nay hated by most in the Art Insurance world.

Anonymous said...

I recovered some stolen paintings for Dick Ellis who had me arrested. I was released as I had done nothing wrong but had to take Ellis to court for my reward money and I was forced to settle before it got to the High Court. After solicitors costs I was left with nothing and actually lost money on the whole episode. Never trust Dick Ellis he is a double crossing b*****d

Anonymous said...

Dick Ellis is trying to sting the Irish guys who hold some Gardner art.

He is going to get them all arrested soon, so beware of the Dick Ellis false promises and undercover sting operation happening now in Ireland.
July 3rd 2012

Anonymous said...

Let me tell you the truth about Dick Ellis.
He has stood in a court of law and committed perdury on more than one occasion.
Nobody can lie better than Dick.
He has stolen money, He has stolen paintings.
He was very very lucky I never had a tape recorder on me when talking to him once otherwise he would have got three years for perdury.
How he has never been arrested is amazing.
How he sleeps at night I dont know.
Just had a thought ask Mr Dick Ellis to take a lie detector test, questions to be asked 'have you ever committed perdury in a court of law'.
Let the real Dick Ellis stand up.
You are a crook who has managed to get away with it for years.
You will not make any complaints about what I have written Dick because you know if you were to take the lie detector test you would be found out.