A 33-YEAR-OLD man who stole a £25,000 violin from a Lewisham musician has been forced to face the music after he was sentenced to six months in prison.

Tony Graco, from Hounslow, was travelling on the 7.45am train from London Waterloo to Whitton on February 8 when he spotted the violin in the luggage rack.

Catrin Win Morgan, 30, had boarded the service with a large amount of luggage, including her £25,000 Frédéric Chaudière-made Stradivarius copy violin.

She placed the violin in the overhead rack above her but later realised it was missing.

British Transport Police (BTP) released CCTV images showing Graco leaving the train at Whitton station carrying the violin.

In the early hours of Wednesday, February 29, after seeing his face in the paper, Graco handed the instrument in to staff at Hounslow station, claiming he found it on a train.

When asked why it had taken so long to return the violin, he said he had been working and had been busy.

Officers reunited Mrs Morgan with her beloved instrument and, following a forensic analysis of the case, Graco was arrested on suspicion of theft on Friday, March 2.

Graco later failed to return to his scheduled bail date of Friday, May 4, but was arrested again after officers in Hounslow stopped him as part of a routine check.

He was sentenced at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court on Friday, January 4, after he pleaded guilty to the theft.

Detective Constable Helen Magill from BTP said: "Hopefully this sentence will show that we will track down and do everything we can to bring those who think they can get away with stealing other people’s property to justice."