Van Gogh paintings stolen from Amsterdam museum found in Italy

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Van Gogh painted Seascape at Scheveningen on a gusty day and grains of sand were embedded in the wet paint

Italian police have recovered two Van Gogh paintings stolen during a dramatic raid on an Amsterdam museum in 2002.

The works were recovered from the Naples mafia, they said.

The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam said the works were found during a “massive, continuing investigation” by Italian prosecutors and organised crime officials.

The paintings were taken when thieves used a ladder and sledgehammers to break into the museum.

They were eventually found wrapped in cloth in a safe in a house in the picturesque seaside town of Castellammare di Stabia, near Pompeii.

The works were among assets worth millions of euros seized from a Camorra organised crime group linked to cocaine trafficking, Italian reports said.

Months earlier, police had arrested several suspected drug traffickers who had invested their proceeds in Dubai, Spain and the Isle of Man. They were reportedly linked to one of the biggest mafia clans in the Scampia area of northern Naples.

Among those arrested in January were suspected drugs gang leader Raffaele Imperiale and Mario Cerrone. It was Mr Cerrone who apparently told investigators about the two paintings.

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