TWELVE rare accordions which were stolen from a music lover have been recovered and returned to their owner. However, another 18 instruments are still missing.
Ken Hopkins (64) – also known as the 'Accordion Man' – had 12 vintage accordions returned to him at Laytown garda station in Co Meath.
Thirty of the rare and ornately decorated musical instruments were stolen from his home in Comber, Co Down in August.
Some of the accordions returned to him appear to have minor damage to the keys or buttons but Ken said all are repairable.
He is known throughout Europe as the 'Accordion Man' for his love of restoring and collecting them and some of those stolen were one of a kind.
He was duped into leaving his house in August in the belief he was going to meet two men who wanted to buy one. They never appeared and he returned home to find 30 instruments had been stolen, some of which were worth between €24,570 and €36,855.
The recovery of the accordions was as a result of enquiries by gardai from Dundalk and Laytown.
They were found on Saturday, covered in plastic, in a derelict area of Mornington near the Meath coast. They are estimated to be worth about €15,970.
"It is a Christmas present for me," said a delighted Ken who suffered sleepless nights after the theft.
Accordion music is popular in eastern Europe and Ken suspects that some of them had been stolen to be sold there.