LONDON (Reuters) - A valuable bronze sundial by renowned British sculptor Henry Moore has been stolen from outside the artist's former home, the latest in a string of thefts involving outdoor artworks by thieves thought to be cashing in on rising metal prices.
Made up of two interlocking bronze crescents, Moore's "Sundial 1965" is worth up to 500,000 pounds ($770,000), police said.
They appealed to the public for information regarding the theft, which took place in the grounds of Moore's one-time country residence Perry Green, Hertfordshire, on Tuesday evening or in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
"We are deeply saddened about the loss of Sundial... We take our care of Henry Moore sculptures extremely seriously and have installed heightened security measures here in recent years," said Richard Calvocoressi, director of the Henry Moore Foundation.
The sundial was the latest work by the abstract artist, who died in 1986 aged 88, to be targeted by thieves.
The Foundation carried out a security review following the theft of a Moore bronze in December 2005.
Copper, bronze's main component, has more than doubled in price over the last three years leading to a steep rise in the theft of metal artwork, memorial plaques, as well as electrical cables and drain covers.
The last high profile theft of a public statue was in December when an abstract bronze work worth 500,000 pounds by British artist Barbara Hepworth was stolen from a London park.
New proposals to clamp down on metal theft could come into force by autumn this year, the British government said in April.
Reporting By Alessandra Prentice