Whoever stole the stitched panel depicting Rosslyn Chapel from the Great Tapestry of Scotland last week took it from the Scottish nation.
That was the view of Borders writer and historian, Alistair Moffat, who co-founded the tapestry project with fellow writer Alexander McCall Smith and artist Andrew Crummy.
The panel was taken from Kirkcaldy Galleries around 10am last Thursday and Fife Cultural Trust (FCT) has called for the public to help track it down.
The Great Tapestry is one of the biggest community projects in the world, with 160 individual panels, stitched by more than 1,000 volunteers.
It has been on display at Kirkcaldy Galleries since June 20 and police are now hunting those who took the panel from the tapestry, which is destined for a permanent home at Tweedbank.
More than 300,000 people have already viewed the gigantic artwork on its travels around Scotland, and Mr Moffat this week hit out at the thieves.
“They stole it from the people of Scotland. What pulses from each panel is the power of love. Not only the love of Scotland but also the love invested by 1,000 stitchers who made all the panels,” he told us.
“That is why this callous theft of part of a great work of art, a Scottish national treasure, has appalled the 320,000 people who have seen it. It feels like more than a loss. It is a violation, even a desecration.
“Nevertheless the panel will be restored, either recovered or re-stitched, by the time the Great Tapestry building opens at Tweedbank in 2017.”