Stolen Shakespeare volume returned to university

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The Independent Culture

A 400-year-old volume of Shakespeare's work worth £15m was returned to Britain today, 10 years after it was stolen.







The first folio edition of the bard's works was flown back from the US to a secret location in North East England, a decade after it was taken from Durham University's library.



It was escorted back by two detectives who have been carrying out transatlantic inquiries.



The 1623 book surfaced in June when a man walked into the renowned Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC, claiming to have discovered the book in Cuba, and asked for it to be verified as genuine.



Experts soon realised the book was stolen and called in the British Embassy, Durham Police and the FBI.



The authorities set about tracing the man who took the folio to the library, and who told staff he was an "international businessman".



It led to the arrest of eccentric playboy Raymond Scott, 51, who lived with his 80-year-old mother in a quiet cul-de-sac in Washington, Tyne and Wear.



He was bailed pending further inquiries.



After his arrest, the Ferrari-driving antique dealer and self-confessed "dilettante" professed his innocence.



He said that in 1998, when the folio and other rare works were stolen, he was not interested in books and would not have known the difference between Shakespeare first folio and a "paperback Jackie Collins".



The literary treasure was accompanied back to the UK, through Heathrow and to Durham Tees Valley International Airport, by Det Insp Mick Callan and Det Con Tim Lerner, of Durham Police's major crime team.



They spent the last week in the American capital taking statements from witnesses.



DI Callan said: "The book will now be held in secure and controlled conditions while our inquiries into this matter continue."



Professor Chris Higgins, vice chancellor of Durham University, said: "We are pleased the Shakespeare First Folio is back in Durham and we await the outcome of the police investigation."



Scott will answer bail in mid-November.

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