Three electric violins that were stolen from Nigel Kennedy's tour bus in Liverpool in 2005 are due to be returned to the violinist after turning up at an auction house in North Wales.

The Violectra violins, two custom-finished in the claret and blue of Kennedy's beloved Aston Villa football club, and the other branded with the club's coat of arms, were stolen in Liverpool's Chinatown while the violinist was on a UK tour.

According to a report in the Liverpool Post, the instruments were brought to Clwyd Auction Centre, in Ewloe, Flintshire, by a Liverpool dealer who had bought them in good faith for £20 each.

When the auction house staff checked on the internet to ascertain the violins' value, they saw that the instruments matched those shown with Kennedy on the Violectra website. The auction house's director alerted Kennedy's manager, Terri Robson, before passing the violins to North Wales Police. Robson confirmed that the violins would be collected shortly and returned to Kennedy.

At the time of the theft, Kennedy said in a statement: 'I am extremely upset. These violins were custom-made and will be very difficult to replace. I fear for their safety if a Birmingham City fan gets their hands on them.'

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