Man On Trial for Stealing $500,000 Viola From London Train

Stolen Viola London Symphony Train Cover

A man has gone on trial in London accused of stealing a Ventura Linarolo viola, valued at more than £300,000 (US $470,000) from a London Symphony Orchestra musician.

It will be alleged Stephen Tillyer, 49 took the instrument, case and Peccatte bow - which had been momentarily left unattended on a train from London to Dover Priory.

CCTV images will show Tillyer taking the case and later placing it in the trunk of his car.

“This is a mistake. I haven’t stolen anything. I picked something up on the train,” he allegedly told arresting officers at the time.

The jury heard a statement from London Symphony violist Edward Vanderspar that he was napping on the commute then accidentally left the carriage without the 16th Century instrument.

Upon realising, he immediately panicked and called '999', he has said.

Tillyer has also been charged with stealing a school boy's rucksack on the same journey.

The trial continues.