From Russia with love

PUBLISHED: 13:54 21 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:50 15 June 2010

HONESTY was the best policy for one Seaton man after he was rewarded for handing in a painting he found on Branscombe beach following the Napoli disaster.

HONESTY was the best policy for one Seaton man - after he was rewarded for handing in a painting he found on Branscombe beach following the Napoli disaster.Tom Coombs, 42, of West Cliff Terrace, was sent a painting by Russian artist Aydar Khusainov, whose work he had returned over a year ago.While others were busy looting goods, conscientious Mr Coombs set out on a mission to find the owners of the artwork.Now, not only has his kindness been repaid, he has struck up a friendship with Khusainov and the two regularly exchange e-mails."I wasn't expecting anything but I'm very happy with it and grateful for his generosity," said Mr Coombs. "We've been in contact via e-mails and Aydar seems like a lovely man. So, I've made a friend and got a lovely painting. It just goes to show that sometimes honesty is the best policy."He said he imagined it would have been sad for the owners to see their personal possessions taken in front of their eyes, and he hoped that somebody would have done the same for him in those circumstances.But it would appear that Mr Coombs was a rare case. He said there was a place for possessions to be returned, but few took up the option.Mr Coombs found the oil painting, Still Life, on the beach and was surprised it was still intact. He wanted to prevent any damage happening to it and tried to search for the owners. Instead, the artist was found. Mr Khusainov was so pleased, he wanted to return the gesture by sending another of his paintings, Road to Waterfalls.On it he wrote: "From Aydar with gratitude and best regards.

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