A COMMUNITY has been lauded after it helped bring about the return of a piece of stolen artwork.

After the painting by mystery artist LoKi was pinched from the side of The Old Brewery in Ulverston on Monday night, a plea was sent out on social media.

The artwork is one of a set due to be donated to St Mary’s Hospice - and on Wednesday the thief was given 24 hours to return the charity-bound piece before police were contacted.

The stolen work duly appeared at the footpath leading to the hospice overnight between Wednesday and Thursday.

Matthew Mayvers, owner of the Brewery, who posted video footage of the theft with the 24-hour ultimatum online, considered calling the police immediately.

“But I thought ‘the police are very busy and obviously are doing are doing their normal day-to-day job’,” he said.

“I thought social media would work better with this action, giving the person a time frame to put right their wrong.

“I think it’s Facebook at its best as regards the local community, the speed of the response.”

The video of the incident shows the culprit park in Brewery Street Car Park.

The thief crosses the road and, after waiting for the coast to clear, nabs the artwork from the side of the Brewery.

They then put the artwork in the boot of their car before driving away.

The piece is one of several done on wood by LoKi that were attached to the side of the Brewery when Mr Mayvers took it on last year.

He said he had been given LoKi’s permission to donate the collection of artwork to Ulverston-based charity St Mary’s Hospice to help it raise funds after a difficult year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Mayvers’ post to social media received more than 200 shares and Clare Paling, area fundraising manager for St Mary’s, said it was ‘just another example of the love that there is for us and the work that we do’.

“And obviously we are really grateful to Matthew for the opportunity to raise funds through his donation,” she said.