Spanish police have recovered three of five paintings by British artist Francis Bacon that were stolen from a Madrid apartment in 2015 in a multi million-pound heist.
The works were among five paintings by the Dublin-born British artist stolen from a manor home in Madrid in July 2015.
Bacon often visited Madrid, where he spent time studying old masters paintings in the Prado Museum, and died in the city in 1992, aged 82.
The five paintings, estimated to be worth more than €25m (£22.1m), were part of a collection owned by Jose Capelo, a close friend of Bacon’s who inherited a number of works after the artist’s death in 1992.
Mr Capelo was reportedly in London at the time of the raid.
In May 2016, police arrested and bailed seven suspects over the thefts.
Three other people were arrested in January after police raided homes in Madrid and seized arms, safe-cracking manuals and oxy-fuel cylinders used for cutting metal.
“I can confirm that three paintings have been recovered,” a police spokeswoman said.
She said she could not give more details because of the ongoing investigation to find the remaining two artworks.
The five paintings are estimated to be worth more than 25 million euros ($29 million).
In May 2016, with the help of a British firm that searches for stolen art, they arrested one of the suspected perpetrators, as well as five accomplices that allegedly helped hide the paintings.
A Barcelona resident had sent the firm pictures of a Bacon painting to see if it appeared on the company’s list of stolen artworks.
Police analysed the photos and found clues that led them to another suspect who they believed carried out the robbery.
This suspect then led police to an art dealer and his son who are suspected of hiding the stolen paintings.
The thieves tried to sell the paintings on two occasions, the newspaper added.
Police recovered one painting several months ago and the other two just a few days ago.