Hand-carved replacements for the three plaques stolen from Orkney’s Italian Chapel are ready to be delivered to the islands.
The theft from the historic church in August caused outrage.
Attempts to recover the plaques have so far proved fruitless – prompting the custodians of the wartime chapel to commission replacements, carved in the same small village in the north of Italy as the originals.
The plaques depict the journey of Christ to the cross and are individually numbered with Roman numerals.
They were gifted to the islands by Domenico Chiocchetti, an Italian prisoner of war who designed the church at Lamb Holm during World War II.
His daughter Letizia has overseen the creation of the new plaques.
It will take up to two weeks for the replacements to arrive in Orkney due to the challenge of moving them from Moena in the Dolomites to their new home.
John Muir, secretary of the Italian Chapel Preservation Committee, said: “The plaques are ready now but it’s going to be a while before we get them back to Orkney, it’s going to be quite a complicated process.
“A friend of mine happens to be on holiday in Italy and he is going to meet up with Letizia, who will hand over the new plaques.
“They’ll be brought back to Scotland and then we’ll need to get them over to Orkney. It’s going to be about two weeks before I get to see them.”
The creation of the plaques has been a labour of love, with one of the original carvers from the 1960s coming out of retirement to help with the process.
Police are continuing to investigate the theft, which took place between 6.30pm on August 6 and 11am on August 7.
Mr Muir added: “It’s funny, the day I got an e-mail from Letizia to say the plaques were ready I got a phone call from the police.
“I was thinking, maybe they’ve found them. We’ve gone to this effort to replace them and then they’ve found them.
“But the police just wanted to tell me there had been no progress and they were still searching.”