Library book returned after 30-year world trip

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A rare library book has finally been returned – after more than 30 years of globetrotting with an Australian naval attaché.

Former Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant Commander Ron Robb, who was posted to London in 1980, borrowed the volume of Samuel Pepys' Diary in 1981 from Wallington Library to help his daughter with a project. Unknown to him, the 1928 volume remained in his possession and accompanied him to Hong Kong and islands in the Pacific before ending up in Australia. Mr Robb discovered the book while moving house in Toongabbie, New South Wales, and contacted the library's manager Steve Winser to get it safely back to Sutton in Surrey.

Based on the current daily rate of 15p per day, the book would have run up a fine of more than £1,600. Luckily, Sutton Libraries stop fines at a limit of £5 and waived the charge.

The book, part of a set worth around £200, have belonged to Wallington Library since it opened in 1936. It was donated by Sir William Mallinson, one of the original benefactors to the library and is now back with the other volumes of the edition in the library's Mallinson Room.