The City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian have appealed for help following the theft of late-medieval masonry from the Grange area.
A pair of 600-year-old architectural carved bosses - thought to have adorned the original Trinity Collegiate Church - have been stolen from the grounds of Astley Ainslie Hospital.
The stones have belonged to the Hospital since the mid 1800s, when the Trinity Collegiate Church was demolished to make way for the construction of Waverley Train Station. The Apse from the Church was rebuilt and can still be found behind Market Street.
Police Scotland has opened an investigation into the incident which is believed to have taken place between late February and early March.
Councillor Richard Lewis, Edinburgh’s Culture Convener, said: “For an ancient Capital city like Edinburgh, heritage crime is a real concern. These decorative stones may not appear like important architectural features to the untrained eye but they have been on the site of Astley Ainslie since the Church was demolished in the mid 19th Century. Any assistance the public can provide would be very welcome.”
The City of Edinburgh Council’s Archaeologist, John Lawson, added: “The stones are cylindrical and bear distinctive sculpted emblems of the Passion of Christ. They must weigh at least 300kg each and are about 45cm by 60cm wide. Whoever has removed the stones may be unaware of their historical significance. They could even be using them as garden ornaments. The stones are nationally important and are rare survivors of Scottish Medieval art therefore their loss is of great concern. We are appealing for their safe return.”
Ron Finlay, Lead Architect - Capital Planning and Projects, NHS Lothian, said: “These historically important artefacts formed part of a collection of stones of ecclesiastical origin which are located within the Astley Ainslie Hospital site, and have been there for many years. They are a familiar sight to local people and we hope someone, somewhere can step forward with information. We are hoping for their safe return.”
Inspector Graeme Nisbet of St Leonards Police Station said: "We believe that the stones were taken from the grounds of the hospital sometime between February and March and are continuing to conduct enquiries into this. The stones are very distinctive and we would urge anyone who can help us establish their whereabouts to get in touch with us or report this information anonymously to Crimestoppers."
Contact Police Scotland on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.