SIXTEENTH-century paintings have been stolen from Christ Church Picture Gallery in a late-night heist. 

Burglars broke into the university college gallery at St Aldates at 11pm last night.

Three high-value paintings were stolen.

The first is Salvator Rosa, 'A Rocky Coast, with Soliders Studying a Plan', dated to the late 1640s.

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The second is Antony Van Dyck, 'A Soldier on Horseback', dated to 1616.

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The third is Annibale Carracci, 'A Boy Drinking', dated to 1580.

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Nobody was injured during the burglary.

Investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Jon Capps, said: “The paintings which have been stolen are very high-value pieces dating back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

“The artwork has not yet been recovered but a thorough investigation is underway to find it and bring those responsible to justice.

“There will be an increased police presence in the area while officer and staff carry out enquiries.

“If you saw or heard anything suspicious in the area last night, please get in touch.

“Also if you have any CCTV or other footage around the area that you think could help with the investigation, please share them with us.

“You can get in touch by calling the non-emergency number 101, or making a report online using the reference 43200087031.

“If you would prefer to remain anonymous, please contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”