AN artist is on a mission to reunite with his works which were removed from a town centre restaurant after it closed.

The artworks, valued by the artist at £14,000, were hung in the former Smoke restaurant on Palmyra Square.

There were 26 pieces of art decorating the venue created by Neil Roland, a photographer who aimed to capture the essence of Warrington, Liverpool, and Manchester.

Warrington Guardian: Neil's artwork was all exclusive, and signed by himNeil's artwork was all exclusive, and signed by him (Image: Newsquest)

His artworks were estimated to be worth nearly £15,000, and were hung in Smoke on a 'sale or return' deal.

The deal meant that the artworks were hung with their price tags, which would allow guests to purchase the art if they wished to do so - if the art was not sold, it would be returned to Mr Roland.

However, when Smoke closed down in 2019, Mr Roland's artwork was not returned to him, despite the 'sale or return' deal that was in place.

Mr Roland got in touch with the owner of the building, who told him that the entire restaurant had been stripped out - with his artworks nowhere to be seen.

The owner of the Treasury Building (which housed Smoke) has since confirmed that the art was removed under the instruction of the restaurant's guarantor.

Warrington Guardian: The 26 pieces of art have an estimated value of £14,000The 26 pieces of art have an estimated value of £14,000 (Image: Newsquest)

The artist claims that he has spent three years getting in touch with the restaurant's guarantor, but to no avail.

Mr Roland said: "Having created 26 large photographic artworks celebrating Warrington, Manchester and Liverpool for the walls of the restaurant 'Smoke', and been promised I could have them back when the restaurant closed, it has been devastating learning that they have been removed and presumably hidden after I waited years to retrieve them.

"A massive amount of work went into their creation."

Following inquiries made by the Warrington Guardian, the restaurant guarantor's solicitor advised Mr Roland that his artworks were in storage all along, and he need only ask for them to be returned - despite Mr Roland's claims that he had been asking for their return for the past three years.

Warrington Guardian: Neil has been trying to be reunited with his art since the restaurant closed in 2019Neil has been trying to be reunited with his art since the restaurant closed in 2019 (Image: Newsquest)

The guarantor's solicitor said: "We can confirm that the contents of the restaurant known as Smoke were legally removed under the terms of a debenture which is registered at Companies House relating to a large debt.

"The contents are currently in storage.

"Mr Roland can be reunited with his artwork if he gets in touch with this firm and provides proof of ownership."

A complaint was lodged with Cheshire Police in July this year - a spokesperson said: "A report was made to police in July 2022 and after reviewing the circumstances it was established that this was a civil matter.

"The person who reported the matter has been informed."