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[BKARTS] UK: Library criticised over map thefts



Library criticised over map thefts

The National Library of Wales has been criticised for the way it
dealt with thefts valued at £100,000 from its collection.

Razors were used to steal a number of maps dating from the early and
mid 17th century from the library's Aberystwyth building.

But a four-month delay in informing dealers of what had been taken
may have prevented the maps being recovered, according to the
Antiquarian Booksellers Associations.

But the library said it had been advised by police to keep the thefts
quiet.

The thefts, which were discovered in 2001, were believed to have been
linked to similar losses in Finland and Denmark.

Detectives made extensive enquiries, but none of the maps have been
recovered.

Speaking to the Observer magazine, the ABA president Jonathan Potter
said dealers were more likely to notice maps for sale on the market
than police.

"The problem was that by the time we knew what was missing it is was
too late," he said.

"Most of the maps had probably already been sold on."

Fugitives

Detectives at Aberystwyth are trying to trace a man wanted for
questioning in connection with the thefts in Wales and abroad.

Peter Joseph Bellwood, 50, is listed on the Metropolitan Police's
website as one of the 10 most wanted fugitives in the UK.

Staff at Aberystwyth were alerted to the thefts after reading that Mr
Bellwood was suspected of raiding European library treasures.

They checked their records and realised he had visited the National
Library, and subsequently uncovered the rare maps were missing.

The items can be sold for between £500 and £10,000 individually to
specialist markets.

No one at the library was available for further comment.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/wales/mid_/3088059.stm
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