UK police return Buddha statue to India 57 years after it was stolen

LONDON (Reuters) - British police have returned a 12th Century Buddha statue stolen in India 57 years ago.

The Buddha, a bronze statue with silver inlay, was one of 14 statues stolen in 1961 from the Archaeological Survey of India site museum in Nalanda, eastern India.

The statue was handed over at the Indian High Commission in London on Wednesday to coincide with India’s independence day celebrations.

It had changed hands several times since it was stolen before it was finally identified at a trade fair in March 2018.

“This case has been a true example of co-operation between law enforcement, the trade and scholars,” said Detective Constable Sophie Hayes, of London’s Metropolitan Police Art and Antiques Unit.

“We must applaud all those involved in the identification and the return of the statue. As from the outset everyone involved cooperated fully.”

Reporting by Freddie Nielsen; editing by Stephen Addison