Man arrested after Van Gogh and Frans Hals paintings stolen from museums during COVID lockdown

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A man has been arrested after paintings by Dutch masters Vincent Van Gogh and Frans Hals were stolen from museums that were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Dutch police spokeswoman said a 58-year-old suspect was arrested in Baarn, but gave no more information.

She added that the paintings have not been recovered and appealed to the public to come forward with any information.

In March last year, thieves stole the Van Gogh painting Lentetuin - or Spring Garden - which dates from 1884 and depicts the garden of the rectory at Nuenen, from the Singer Laren Museum near Amsterdam.

Five months later, thieves broke into a small museum near the city of Utrecht and made off with a painting by Hals.

The work, Two Laughing Boys, dated from 1626 and was valued at £12.8m.

It had been stolen twice before in its 400-year history, including as recently as May 2011 from the same museum.

Police recovered it later that year after arresting four men who tried to sell it.