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Appeal as Rob Roy's sporran stolen

A sporran worn by Scottish folk hero Rob Roy has been stolen from a museum.

The historic item was part of a display at the recently-restored Abbotsford House in the Borders, once the home of Sir Walter Scott.

It is believed the sporran - a pouch worn at the front of a kilt - was ripped from a wall in the house on Sunday morning and police are now investigating.

Sir Walter helped transform Rob Roy MacGregor into a famous figure with his novel about him published in 1817 which led to him being viewed as a Highland outlaw and a key figure in the Jacobite rising. Rob Roy's gun and sword are also stored in Abbotsford House.

Curators of the collection said they could not put an exact price on the sporran but described it as a "precious piece of folk history" and appealed for its return.

A spokeswoman for Abbotsford House said: "We believe the theft took place on the morning of Sunday September 21 and the sporran appears to have been forcibly ripped from the wall.

"It is one of a number of items in at Abbotsford House relating to Rob Roy, and a precious piece of folk history.

"It is vital that we recover this important artefact and preserve the integrity of Scott's collection for future generations, and so we urge the public to come forward with any information that might help us recover it. We are reviewing our security procedures in light of this.

"This is a unique object so very difficult to put an exact commercial value on; however, it has much historic significance and is a very important part of the collections here at Abbotsford, and so greatly valued by us."

Abbotsford House was reopened last year by the Queen after a £12 million restoration.

Descendants of the Scott family travelled from Australia and New Zealand for the event.

Sir Walter is heralded as the world's first best-selling novelist and creator of the historical novel with titles including Waverley and Ivanhoe.

His home in Melrose was first opened to visitors in 1833, five months after he died in the dining room.

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