"Tome Raider" antique book thief jailed again

Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:13am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A Cambridge University graduate nicknamed the "Tome Raider," who has stolen more than one million pounds' worth of rare books in his criminal career, has been jailed for 3-1/2 years for his latest theft.

William Jacques, 41, stole antique books worth 40,000 pounds ($60,750) from the Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley Library in London, a court heard.

He is accused of having taken the books some time between June 2004 -- when an audit of the volumes was last undertaken -- and March 2007, the Press Association reported.

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

Jacques used a false name to sign into the Lindley library before stuffing the books under his jacket and fleeing, Southwark Crown Court was told.

Recorder Michael Holland told Jacques: "You have absolutely no intention of turning away from what seems to you to be an extremely lucrative and easy crime."

Such crimes "undermine and destroy parts of the cultural heritage that's contained within these libraries," the judge added.

Jacques, who studied at Cambridge University and was a member of both the British Library and the London Library, has plundered more than 1 million pounds ($1.5 million) worth of historic books from British libraries.

He was previously jailed for four years in May 2002 by a judge at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court for 21 counts of theft.

Jacques faces confiscation proceedings in January next year.

(Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Steve Addison)