Stolen violins returned to Nigel Kennedy

Three electric instruments turn up at auction house

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Three electric violins stolen from the violinist Nigel Kennedy have turned up in an auction house in Wales.

The instruments, which were custom-made, reflect Kennedy’s love for Aston Villa football club: one carries the club’s coat of arms, the other two are finished in the club’s claret and blue colours.

In 2005 the instruments, worth a total of around £26,000, were stolen from the musician’s tour bus while he was in Liverpool.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo newspaper, the director of Clwyd Auction Centre – where the instruments surfaced – said: ‘The vendor, who is a very respectable dealer we have dealt with for 20 years, bought them in good faith for £20 each.

‘When checked on the internet to ascertain their value we realised they were identical to those stolen from Nigel Kennedy in Liverpool.’

The violins were handed over to North Wales police and will be returned to the violinist.

Nigel Kennedy shot to fame in the late 1980s and his recording of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons has become one of the best-selling classical recordings ever. More recently he has moved into performing jazz and his 2011 BBC Proms performance brought together music for solo violin by JS Bach and songs by Fats Waller.