Pair appear in court over alleged art theft near comedian’s North-east home

A man and a woman have appeared in court and denied stealing artwork worth hundreds of thousands of pounds from Billy Connolly’s former neighbours.

Penelope Hodge or Thomas-Smith, 61, and Phillip Thomas-Smith, 67, appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court before Sheriff Graeme Napier accused of taking two paintings 15 years ago.

It is alleged art by two renowned Scottish painters was stolen more than a decade ago from a house in Strathdon, near comedian Connolly’s then-home at Candacraig House, in 2001.

Both Penelope Thomas-Smith and Phillip Thomas-Smith are alleged to have stolen the work thought to be worth a six-figure sum by Scottish colourists George Leslie Hunter and Francis Cadell.

Prosecutors allege the pair broke into a house at Candacraig, Strathdon, “using a true key”.

It is said this took place on or between July 16 and 18, 2001. The pair, whose address was given in court papers as Shore House, High Shore, Banff, had not guilty pleas lodged for them by their solicitors John McLeod and Gail Goodfellow.

Sheriff Napier continued the case against the pair for a further preliminary hearing until next week.