Derren Brown was forced to deny his involvement in the heist of two of Damien Hirst’s prized artworks worth £33,000, after putting himself in the frame with a poorly judged tweet.
The TV illusionist is currently working on a stunt for his forthcoming Channel 4 show, Great Art Robbery, which is set to air on Friday.
In it, he trains pensioners as grifters in order steal a valuable painting by the Chapman brothers, the work of which is currently on display at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery.
Seizing his opportunity to plug the show, Brown tweeted in response to the news that two paintings by Hirst had been stolen by thieves who broke into a London gallery.
Posting via C4’s Twitter account, he wrote: “Damien Hirst? @DerrenBrown? No comment. #GreatArtRobbery, Friday, 9pm”
The poorly judged message immediately linked the TV showman and his small army of elderly bandits to the gallery raid, which is currently under police investigation.
Brown’s publicist was called on to deny his involvement, saying in a statement: “He was just being mischievous on Twitter.”
“Just to clarify, this wasn’t a PR stunt and of course we would encourage any witnesses to speak to the police,” Channel 4 added.
The signed artworks were stolen from the Exhibitionist Gallery in Notting Hill in the early hours of Monday morning.
The larger of the two multi-coloured ‘dot’ artworks, “Pyronin Y”, was created in 2005 and is worth £15,000.
The other painting, entitled “Oleoylsarcosine”, was created in 2008 and is valued at £18,000.
According to police reports, a suspect entered the gallery by forcing the front doors and drove the items away in a dark-coloured hatchback-type vehicle towards Ladbroke Grove.
“This is a police matter and I’m afraid we cannot comment,” Hirst’s spokesperson said.
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