Police today appealed for help to recover a painting that was cut from its frame and stolen from North Devon District Hospital. The thief struck at the Radiology Department between 1pm and 5pm on Monday, leaving behind an empty frame. However, they also

Police today appealed for help to recover a painting that was cut from its frame and stolen from North Devon District Hospital.The thief struck at the Radiology Department between 1pm and 5pm on Monday, leaving behind an empty frame.However, they also left behind the certificate of provenance - the history of the painting. Without it, the picture will have little value on the art market.The painting, the Dawn Departure of the Lady Ebrington, is by John Norris. As shown and depicts a ship leaving Barnstaple in August 1852, carrying emigrants bound for Australia. The frame has a brass plate saying: 'In memory of Mrs WH Reet (Cornish)'.PC Nick Daffern, the hospital's police officer, said: "It looks like the thief must have rolled up the picture and hidden it under their clothing or in a bag, because we couldn't see anything suspicious on the closed-circuit cameras."We'd urge anyone who saw someone acting suspiciously in the Radiology Department on Monday afternoon, or who sees the picture, to get in touch. The painting has been on show in the hospital for many years, and it would be good to get it back."Please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 (crime ref CB/08/3187).