'Tome Raider' jailed for stealing rare books

A book thief nicknamed the "Tome Raider" who stole 13 antique books worth £40,000 from a London library was jailed for three-and-a-half years yesterday.

The Cambridge University graduate William Jacques, 41, who was jailed for four years in 2002 for stealing 500 rare books worth £1m, drew up a "thief's shopping list" of books he wanted. He used a false name to sign in to the Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley Library in London before stuffing valuable works under his tweed jacket and fleeing, Southwark Crown Court in London was told.

Staff started to become suspicious after noticing he would always wear the same clothes during visits. Gino Connor, prosecuting, said that on one occasion he "was seen to place something inside his jacket and walk away with his left arm stiff against his jacket as if holding something". He told the jury that Jacques always signed in when visiting the library, when he had both arms free, but never signed out.

The Recorder, Michael Holland QC, told Jacques: "This was a systematic and carefully planned theft and you had prepared a target list, from your research at that library, of books that were worth stealing. This was a theft in progress and the list referred to books worth tens of thousands of pounds more."