POLICE investigating the theft of �500,000 worth of coins have been inundated with tip-offs following a nationwide TV appeal.

The rare coin collection, which was taken from the Broughton home of Lord and Lady Stewartby in June 2007, features coins dating back to 1136 and is considered by experts to be Scotland's best rare coin collection.

Detectives investigating the crime had hit a dead end despite a �50,000 reward for information.

However a BBC Crimewatch appeal last Thursday night has led to over 40 calls being received and Lothian and Borders Police said they will now analyse the information received before following up any new lines of inquiry.

DCI Grant Dougall made the fresh appeal during the peak time show.

He said: "We'd like to hear from anyone who has been offered this collection or has seen any of the coins since they were taken." Lady Deborah Stewartby hopes the renewed appeal will lead to the recovery of the coins, as the crooks realise they can never actually sell the items.

She said: "These coins are too well known now, they can never be sold. This collection of coins is a national treasure and they should be on display for all to see.

"What is really galling for us is that my husband was about to hand them over to the National Museum of Scotland before they were stolen and that is where they will go too if recovered.

"It is our hope that whoever has them realises that they will never sell and just hands them back. Hopefully one day this collection will be on display for the benefit of the nation in Edinburgh." Nick Holmes, senior curator of numismatics at the National Museum of Scotland, said: "This collection is a unique part of Scottish history and the impact of its loss cannot be overstated." Police have agreed that it would be almost impossible for a thief to sell the coins because they are so famous.

A spokesman said: "The coins are unsellable on the market because they are so well known, and dealers and others in the coin trade have been checking the source of any early Scottish coins that appear for sale.

"We are hoping that the prospect of a �50,000 reward may help jog the memories of those who could help us in our enquiries.

"We would urge anyone with any information about the whereabouts of these coins to contact police immediately." Lord Stewartby, a former government minister, first started collecting coins at the age of ten and had amassed his special collection over a period of 50 years.

More than 1,000 coins were taken in the raid while the former Tory MP and his wife were on holiday in June 2007.

The robbery was discovered by the caretaker of their rural home, which was once owned by The 39 Steps author John Buchan.

Speaking after the robbery Lord Stewartby said: "It is a great tragedy particularly because of the historical content contained in the collection, I feel that everything possible should be done to recover this collection intact.

It was a great shock to the system when I heard about the break-in.

"I had been looking forward to working on them and getting as much information on them as I could - they are part of Scotland's history." Anyone with information on the theft can contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131 or call Crimestoppers anonymously and in confidence on 0800 555 1111.