One of the longest Easter eggs hunts in history may be over with the discovery of a precious golden Faberge egg stolen four years ago.

Police were stunned when a routine traffic check led to the discovery of a stunning stolen Faberge egg worth £1m.

The bejewelled eggs used to be given as gifts between wealthy families and friends in Russia at Easter time.

Officers who pulled over a battered car near the Swiss border in France could not believe it when they found the glittering object made from gold inside.

The Russian egg, made from a kilogram of the precious metal, was also studded with emeralds, sapphires and diamonds.

So it was no surprise police officers were unconvinced by the explanation given by the three men.

A search of the "shabby and suspicious" BMW saloon revealed an old cloth with the precious object inside.

One claimed they had found it lying on the ground, while another man said the precious egg was purchased at a flea market.

A police spokesman said "We have the impression that we're dealing with a team tasked with transporting and negotiating the sale of the artwork."

The egg was last seen by its wealthy Arab owner four years ago, when it was stolen during a raid on a Kuwaiti business in Geneva.

Three men aged between 24 and 38 years old were charged with handling stolen goods and possession of a weapon.

Famous Faberge eggs are synonymous with the vanished empire of the Russian Tsars, who ruled Russia before the Socialist revolution.

They were made by the House of Faberge for less than 35 years from 1885. Production ceased in 1917 when Tsar Nicholas II and his dynasty were swept away in a seismic upheaval which changed the course of history.