A stolen statue of a shepherd boy missing for more than a year has been returned to the National Trust after it was found in a horsebox.
The four-foot statue was discovered in the back of a box in Horton Kirby by a member of the public last Monday.
Officers from Kent Police’s Rural Task Force made a number of inquiries and contacted Heritage Watch for help.
It was soon discovered that it was a statue stolen from Nymans Gardens, Handcross in Sussex on September 1, 2016.
Steven Sibley, 24, from Haywards Heath, pleaded guilty to theft by finding at Crawley Magistrates' court last November. He was given a rehabilitation activity requirement and required to pay £3,692 in compensation.
It was still unknown at the time where the statue was being kept.
The statue is now back at Nymans, in secure storage pending conservation work.
PC Ben Gould, of Sussex Police, said: “This is a fantastic result in being able to reunite the statue with the rightful owners.
“Kent Police were quick to respond to the call and from the press release we issued at the time of the theft, were able to match the description to the statue itself.”
James Holloway, house steward at Nymans, said: “We are thrilled to be reunited with our statue. It is amazing to have it returned to us well over a year after it was stolen, we didn’t believe there was any possibility of it being found.
"We would like to thank the Kent and Sussex Police forces for all of their hard work in returning it to us."