Lost £250,000 Tecchler violin was ‘stolen from luggage rack’ on train

31 October 2019, 10:50 | Updated: 31 October 2019, 10:51

Police release CCTV image of suspect linked to violin theft
Police release CCTV image of suspect linked to violin theft. Picture: BTP/Stephen Morris

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Police are looking for a man who might be linked to the theft of an 18th-century violin worth £250,000, which was taken from a train in South London.

Violinist Stephen Morris was travelling on the 10.58pm service from London Victoria to Orpington on 22 October. He placed his violin, worth over £250,000, in the overhead luggage rack – but forgot to pick it up when he left the train.

The antique instrument, which was last seen in a white case, is one of only a few made by master luthier David Tecchler in 1709.

Morris reported the incident to lost luggage and to the British Transport Police (BTP).

Today, BTP released a CCTV image of a man who they are investigating in relation to the incident.

Police say that as the train approached Bromley South, “another man took the violin and left the train”, before boarding a connecting train to St Mary Cray.

Read more: Musician ‘devastated’ after leaving 18th-century violin on train >

Stephen Morris plays his 310-year-old Tecchler violin
Stephen Morris plays his 310-year-old Tecchler violin. Picture: Stephen Morris/Winnie Woo/YouTube

Stephen Morris had been due to guest-lead the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in two performances with Andrea Bocelli, before he realised his instrument was gone.

He has urged anyone who finds the violin to return it.

Read more: Lebanese protestors pause to sing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy in Arabic >

“It’s devastating to lose it,” Stephen told Classic FM. “I acquired it about 15 years ago from Christie’s. It’s been my professional companion for a good part of my career.

“Being without it is like having a limb cut off.”

Violin case
Violin case. Picture: Stephen Morris

Morris, who has played on multiple hit film scores including James Bond and The Lord Of The Rings, says he left the violin in a white case.

Officers believe the man in the CCTV image may have information which could help their investigation.

Police are encouraging anyone who recognises the man in the image, or has seen the violin in the image, to contact BTP by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 1900092343.