TWO valuable pieces of Ealing Council’s Martinware collection, stolen in 2005 and 2007, have been returned following a complex recovery operation.

The important items, a distinctive Wally Bird and a rare jug, worth a combined five-figure sum, were part of an insurance claim settled shortly after the incidents occurred.

Now they have been found, Zurich has decided to waive the requirement for the original settlement to be paid back.

Southall Library has an impressive collection of Martinware pottery, dating from 1877 and 1923.

Following the theft of 13 pieces from the collection in 2005, a member of the public contacted Ealing in June 2020 after his son discovered the Wally Bird being sold on eBay for £30,000.

Manny Manoharan, Ealing’s Libraries & Community Centres Service Manager, said Zurich’s decision to waive the original settlement was a generous gesture to the people of Ealing.”

Paul Redington, of Zurich’s property expert team, added: “Ealing are a valued Zurich customer, and effectively gifting back the Wally Bird and jug to the community in this way seemed like the only right thing to do for us.”