Fifteen people were arrested last night when Dorking Police swooped on the Our Lady Mary RC school to break up a "notorious" currency counterfeiting operation.
Officers from Dorking Central Division, accompanied by dog handlers and an armed response unit, raided the school at around 7.30pm. They also confiscated several boxes of artist's eqipment including easels, pallets, paints, paper and canvas.
The arrested people were all members of the Dorking and District Fine Arts Club and were said to be taking a special class on life drawing at the time.
Det Chief Supt Claude Monnay, who planned and led the raid, praised his team: "This is a notorious and nasty bunch of international currency counterfeiters who would slit you up as soon as look at you. It was a dangerous op, but my boys and girls stood up to the task with skill and courage."
He added, however, that he was disappointed that the raid failed to secure any printing equipment.
Club chair Edward Mannay was distraught: "They took all our members' portfolios," he said. "They've been working on them all year and were going to present them at the Dorking Annual Fine Art Fair - some of the portraits were sure to be judge's special prize winners."
Ch Supt Monnay, a keen water colourist, dismissed suggestions that the arrests cleared the way for the Dorking Police Impressionism Society's members in the forthcoming Fine Art Fair.
"Never even occurred to me. These skanks deserve everything they get - making a fortune while the rest of us are struggling to make ends meet in these straitened times! I hope they throw away the key!
"You lot will be reporting on the art fair, right?"