Tuesday 24 October 2017

Book dealer devastated after abseiling raiders steal valuable works

The raiders used abseiling skills to reach the rare books
The raiders used abseiling skills to reach the rare books

A book dealer thought to have lost £1 million in antique works in an audacious heist said he has been left devastated by the raid.

A gang made off with more than 160 publications worth more than £2 million after abseiling into a warehouse near Heathrow Airport in a "Mission: Impossible-style" break-in, according to the Mail on Sunday.

Alessandro Meda Riquier said 51 books, including by Galileo and rare editions of Dante's Divine Comedy, had been taken.

The "jewel" in the haul was a 1566 copy of Nicolaus Copernicus's De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium reportedly worth around £215,000.

He told Sky News: "I'm very upset because this is not something you can buy everywhere.

"Behind these books there is a lot of work because we have to search to try to find out where the books are - auction houses, collectors, colleagues - and there's big research behind these books."

He added: "They are not only taking money away from me but also a big part of my job."

Scotland Yard said "a number of valuable books" were stolen in the burglary in Feltham, west London, between January 29 and 30.

One dealer lost £680,000 of books, the newspaper said.

Brian Lake, of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, said: "Nothing like this has hit the rare books trade before."

The Metropolitan Police asked anyone with information to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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