Man 'used shopping list in book thefts'

A Cambridge graduate drew up a "thief's shopping list" before stealing antique books worth £40,000 from a world famous library, a court heard today.

William Jacques, 41, of no fixed address, would use a false name to sign in to the Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley library in London, it is alleged.



He would leave after stuffing valuable volumes of Nouvelle Iconographies des Camellias by Ambroise Verschaffelt under a tweed jacket he would always wear on such visits, jurors heard.



Gino Connor, for the Crown, told Southwark Crown Court that Jacques pre-planned the theft of the rare volumes.



"We are not dealing with Penguin books, we are dealing with very valuable books," he said.



Mr Connor added that the crime was a "systematic, carefully planned theft committed by a man who knew precisely what he was doing".



Jacques, the prosecutor said, was highly intelligent, studied at Cambridge and was a member of both the British Library and the London Library.



"He had an understanding of rare and valuable books," Mr Connor added.



The defendant is alleged to have taken the books some time between June 2004 - when an audit of the books was last undertaken - and March 2007.



During that period he would regularly visit the Lindley Library in Vincent Square, central London.



It holds books, journals, pictures and art on practical gardening, garden history, plants and design dating back to 1514.



Staff started to become suspicious after noticing that Jacques would always wear the same clothes - a tweed jacket and glasses - the court heard.



Mr Connor said that on one occasion the defendant "was seen to place something inside his jacket and walk away with his left arm stiff against his jacket as if holding something".



The prosecutor added: "It was rather crude, but it was effective."



He told the jury that Jacques always signed in when visiting the library, when he had both arms free. But he never signed out, the court heard.



Staff called police to the Library on April 2, 2007, after noticing Jacques in the building, the court heard.



On being challenged by officers and staff, he is alleged to have said: "I do not know nothing about this," adding: "Do you have any evidence?".



Police found that the suspect had with him a card for London's Senate House library in the name of "Santoro", it is alleged. It is the same name he used to sign in to the Lindley Library, the prosecution claimed.



Police also found an A4 piece of paper with the names of 70 volumes of rare books, all kept at the library.



Mr Connor said the document amounted to a "thief's shopping list".



The books on the piece of paper were listed in sequential order as to where they could be found in the library.



Notes were also made as to their valuation and whether they included maps and plates - which the prosecution told jurors could be removed and sold separately.



"This tends to suggest that there was a great deal of pre-planning," Mr Connor said.



Jacques denies one count of theft relating to the 13 volumes missing from the library.



He also denies going equipped with the Senate House card to commit theft.



The trial continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor