Henry Moore sculpture stolen and may be melted down and sold for scrap

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A huge bronze statue by Henry Moore, worth more than £3m and hailed by art historians as of 'exceptional' importance, has been stolen and, police fear, may be melted down and sold for scrap.

The massive modernist art-work, entitled A Reclining Figure, was taken from the Henry Moore Foundation sculpture park at Much Hadham, Hertfordshire, late on Thursday night.

Police believe that a crane was used to hoist the 11ft by 8ft, two- ton statue on to a Mercedes flat-bed lorry. Three men are being sought, having been caught on security cameras.

A Reclining Figure was created by Moore, widely seen as one of the 20th century's greatest sculptors, late in his career.

Born in Yorkshire in 1898 to a mining family, Moore is credited with helping to heal the rift between popular and 'intellectual' art. His work is to be found worldwide, much of it on public, or open access, display. Moore died in 1986 " feted by the media, honoured by the establishment and loved by the public " leaving an extraordinary body of work comprising hundreds of pieces, scattered worldwide in public and private collections.

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