Stolen posters – by the artist Stik and intended for every household in a London borough – have been returned following a police appeal.
Prints of Holding Hands – given to the people of Hackney by the local street artist – had appeared for sale online.
A hundred thousand copies of the 50cm x 50cm image were produced, distributed with the council’s Hackney Today newspaper.
They were created to celebrate the installation of a Holding Hands sculpture in Hoxton Square.
But many residents never received their poster and Stik appealed for the prints’ return late last month.
About 4,000 have turned up, along with another 1,000 that had come back prior to the artist going public, Scotland Yard said,
“Holding Hands shows two people looking in opposite directions yet holding hands in a symbol of universal love and solidarity,” Stik said.
“The fact that so many prints were returned to the people of Hackney only amplifies its meaning.”
Detective Constable James Readman said it is “really encouraging” that the public has listened to the appeal and “done the right thing by returning a large proportion of the prints”.
He added: “Hopefully, they were struck by the fact that Stik was doing something really nice for his fellow Hackney residents – funded out of his own pocket – because he wanted to bring a smile to people’s faces, during what has been an incredibly difficult year for most.
“Unfortunately, some individuals saw an opportunity to make money and took it.
“But we are pleased with the response and understand Stik has begun the process of distributing the prints to the rightful recipients.”