NATIONAL Police have recovered seven paintings attributed to Majorcan artist Rafa Forteza - valued at 14'000 - which were stolen from an exhibition held in Valldemossa in May last year.

The Historic Heritage Robbery Squad reported that suspicions were aroused when the same paintings stolen from Valldemossa were exhibited in an art gallery in Palma months later. Each was put up sale for 2'000 euros in quick succession, within hardly days of one another.

According to the police, the person who had taken the paintings to the gallery in the first place subsequently came to collect them. He had allegedly learned they were of higher value than he had originally realised and thus wanted to get a better price for them elsewhere.

The Police are calling for the proprietor of the art gallery in Palma where the seven paintings had been exhibited as well as their owner to declare how the stolen items had come into their possession.

The owner of the paintings, who had been keeping the artwork in his home, claims that he bought all seven pieces in a flea market on Majorca for a price considerably less than market value.

Now furnished with the police report, magistrates will have to decide whether any criminal responsibility lies with the two men for being in possession of the stolen artwork.