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May 17, 2017


The Great Tapestry of Scotland, depicting 12,000 years of Scottish history, and created by 160 groups of stitchers working in communities throughout the country is a community arts endeavour on an epic scale.  Two years ago, one of the panels was stolen while on display in Kirkcaldy. Undeterred by this pointless act of vandalism, the stolen panel’s original team of stitchers set about working on a replacement which was finally completed a fortnight ago. Last week, a panel from another great community tapestry project -  the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry was stolen. What is it with tapestries?



A piece of the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry has been stolen from an exhibition in Edinburgh.

It was taken from St Giles’ Cathedral at about 15:30 on Sunday by a man who removed it before making off, via the shop, on to the High Street.

The tapestry – which is made of 305 individually embroidered panels – went on display last week.

Nearly two years ago a panel from the Great Tapestry of Scotland was stolen, and has never been found.

The suspect in the latest incident was described as white, 6ft tall with a slim build, a receding hairline with short cropped hair at the sides and a fair complexion. He was wearing a long-sleeved white top, light trousers and carrying a jacket.

The stolen panel is a 50cm x 50cm white linen square displaying hand stitched religious images.

 Image captionThe Scottish Diaspora Tapestry went on display in Edinburgh last week

Det Con Chris Harding said: “The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry is a priceless piece of artwork with great historical significance and this brazen act of destruction and theft has left the owners of the tapestry and the staff at St Giles Cathedral shocked.

“As part of our inquiries we are keen to hear from anyone recognises the description of the suspect, or who is approached by anyone looking to sell or pass on the stolen panel.

“In addition, anyone with any further information that can assist with our ongoing investigation should come forward.”

Sarah O’Connor Phemister, visitor centre manager at St Giles’ Cathedral, said: “We’re disappointed and very sad that a panel of the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry was stolen while on display in St Giles.

“We are doing everything we can to assist the police in their investigation and are hopeful that the panel will be recovered.

“This beautiful artwork has been lovingly sewn, by people across the globe as a celebration of the contributions of Scottish people and their descendants. As such, its value is beyond price.

“We appeal to whoever took the panel to return it as soon as possible.”

In September 2015, a panel from the Great Tapestry of Scotland was stolen while while it was on display in Kirkcaldy.

A team of stitchers last week unveiled a panel they had painstakingly recreated to replace the missing piece.