Two highly valuable paintings by Rembrandt were removed from the walls of a south London gallery by a thief who was attempting to steal them.

The intruder broke into the Dulwich Picture Gallery on Wednesday night. The pictures, which are part of the Rembrandt's Light exhibition, were taken from the walls, but secured at the scene after alarms were triggered and police alerted.

A police officer was sprayed in the face with an unknown substance as he chased one of the suspects. He was not seriously injured, but the intruder managed to escape.

One painting was found immediately, the second was found by police and secruity staff in the gallery grounds shortly afterwards.

The gallery is closed to the public today and extra security staff could be seen outside.

Extra security outside the gallery on Friday morning

Last night intruders attempted to remove two paintings from Dulwich Picture Gallery’s 'Rembrandt’s Light’ exhibition.

Dulwich Picture Galllery spokesperson

Police described the robbery attempt as 'audacious' and are are appealing to anyone with information about the gallery break-in to call them.