A 400-year-old book which was illicitly removed from the collection of the Catholic Church in Scotland has been recovered.

The book of sermons by Cardinal Bellerine, which dates back to 1605, was gifted to the church in Glasgow in the early 1900s. 

It's not known when it was removed from the collection, but in September 2020, it came to the attention of officers while for sale on a Dutch website. It was sold to a buyer in Italy. 

Glasgow Times:

It is against Canon law to alienate property of the church so the book was seized by officers from the Carabinieri.

Police Scotland officers worked with Italian and Dutch counterparts to recover the book, which was gifted to the Archdiocese in Glasgow, by a priest. 

It was formally resituated to the Scots College in Rome in April before being brought back to Scotland.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

Detective Sergeant Billy Telford, Scottish Heritage Crime Group, said: “This is a fantastic result for the church and for all the officers involved in the investigation.

READ MORE: 'Haul of £40k drugs found' after Glasgow driver stopped for 'using mobile phone'

“It was an extremely interesting case to work on, tracing the book back to its roots here in Scotland.

"We don’t know how it came to be for sale online but it’s now back where it belongs with a fascinating story of its journey.”