A famous sculpture worth $5.4 million (GBP3 million) has been stolen "for scrap" from the grounds of a British museum.

The bronze statue, created by sculptor Henry Moore, was removed from display in Hertfordshire, England, on Thursday (15DEC05) in a daring operation using a crane.

The huge 1970 ornament depicts a reclining figure and weighs more than 2 tonnes.

Detective Sergeant Graeme Smith, investigating the theft, says, "This is a very valuable statue and we are working closely with the Henry Moore Foundation to ensure its safe return.

"We are fearful it is possibly going to be sold for scrap, which would be a travesty."