Two men have pleaded guilty to stealing a Henry Moore sculpture worth up to £500,000 from a garden in Hertfordshire.
22-year-old Liam Hughes and 19-year-old Jason Parker, both from Coltsfield in Stansted, Essex, admitted stealing the sundial sculpture from the grounds of the Henry Moore Foundation at Perry Green in Much Hadham overnight between 10 and 11 July 2012. They also admitted taking the sculpture's bronze plinth a few days later.
The men sold the distinctive sundial sculpture, which was created by Henry Moore in 1965 and is thought to be worth between £250,000 and £500,000, for just £46.
Hughes and Parker pleaded guilty to two counts of theft at St Albans Crown Court.
Prosecutor Ann Evans said "these defendants had no idea what the sculpture was worth. When they were arrested by the police they said they had found the items in a ditch near Tesco. Clearly the sculpture is priceless... Henry Moore in his will said no cast of the work could be created, so there was great joy when it was returned because it could never have been replaced."
Judge Marie Catterson granted defence applications for pre sentence reports. Both men were bailed.