Sir Paul strips Heather of £10 million art collection

Last updated at 10:14 29 December 2006

Sir Paul McCartney's estranged wife Heather Mills feared she had been burgled after the singer stripped her home of £10million worth of paintings.

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The accusation that Sir Paul, 64, ordered the works to be removed from her home on his country retreat is the latest episode in an increasingly acrimonious divorce battle between the pair.

Ms Mills, 38, who is living at Sir Paul's estate near Peasmarsh in East Sussex under the terms of their separation agreement, was stunned to discovered the masterpieces were missing and alarm codes had been changed when she arrived home to celebrate the New Year with family and friends.

The former model reportedly contacted the police and immediately informed her divorce lawyers of what had happened.

Sir Paul sent a text message to Ms Mills informing her he had taken the paintings, including works by Picasso and Renoir, and photographs of their child Beatrice because he was concerned about security on the estate.

A friend of Ms Mills told The Sun: "Heather is staggered. Several pictures, including Renoirs and Picassos which have been hanging on the walls for months, have been taken. Photos of her and Beatrice have also vanished.

"Heather can't believe things have got this bad. She's not fussed about the pictures. She is more concerned about the family photos that have been taken.

"The police spoke to Sir Paul's security guards, who confirmed he had removed them."

A spokesman for the singer declined to comment.

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