Royal Horticultural Society improves security after £40,000 book theft

The RHS has been forced to improve its security after a serial book thief stole a rare work worth £40,000. The theft was discovered in 2007 but the legal case was only concluded last week.

William Jacques was found guilty of stealing £1m of books from libraries across the country. In 2002, he was given a four-year sentence for stealing books from libraries. But within months of being released, Jacques started stealing again.

Between June 2004 and March 2007 he stole 13 volumes of Nouvelles Iconographies des Camelias by Ambroise Verschaffel. This 19th century botanical study was valued at £40,000. He was found guilty of stealing the books and of going equipped to commit theft.

A RHS representative said the books had been insured and that the theft was discovered when another library user had asked to read one of the volumes.

Jacques gave a false name when he used the library. The RHS said security has been improved and people were now asked for proof of identity.

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