Mischief Managed: Thieves in Norfolk steal £40,000 1st edition of Harry Potter among 13 other rare books

The 1st edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone worth £40,000 was stolen from a bookstore in Norfolk and now a manhunt is on to try and find the two men responsible.

The most expensive book from the pile that was stolen (Getty Images)

SN Books which is located in Thetford, Norfolk, was raided in the middle of the night in what looked like a planned heist. The men stole a number of rare books aside from the JK Rowling bestseller.

The books were worth thousands of pounds (Pinterest)

The Harry Potter book was housed in a red colored custom-made box and it was taken between 11:50 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. on January 9th.

The Colour of Magic is worth around £9,000 (Pinterest)

The hardcover 1st edition of Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett worth £9,000, the 1st edition of The Hobbit from 1937 worth £7,000 and 4 sets of 1st edition Winnie the Pooh worth £5,000 were flicked.

The online book retailer is the largest in the UK (Pinterest)

SN Books is one of the largest online retailers for books in the UK and the owner is shocked after the break-in was reported. 

Willing to speak only under the cover of anonymity, the owner told the Daily Mail: "I've never been burgled before and it's really bizarre what's actually happened."

The thieves stole a limited number of books but those were of high value (Pinterest)

"The person stole a really small amount of collectible books- which are of an exceptionally high value. But they left a lot of things that are obviously valuable - they left computers and other things that were valuable."

The thieves drove around for some time before stopping the car (YouTube)

The thieves also took The Great Gatsby worth £2,000 which was in a dark blue custom case from 1925. A paperback copy of Stephen Hawking's book A Brief History of Time from 1983 with his thumbprint signature was also pinched.

The books that were stolen are very rare and unique (Pinterest)

Thetford Police's PC Gideon Weigelt-Holmes told the Daily Mail: "These books are very rare and in some cases unique and not the sort of thing you see every day."

They broke into the storage unit next to the one with all the books (YouTube)

"I am urging people, especially book dealers or those working in specialist bookshops to be vigilant in case they are offered for sale."

The copy of Stephen Hawking's book has his thumbprint signature in it (Pinterest)

Publishing house, Bloomsbury, had only ever printed out 500 copies of the 1st Harry Potter book out of which, 300 went to libraries in 1997.

It took the thieves about 1 and a half hours to successfully infiltrate, steal all the books and then drive away (YouTube)

London-based Harrington sold two of the 1st edition books for more than £10,000 in 2017.

Here's the complete list of stolen books:

1. Hardcover Bloomsbury first edition of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in a red custom box, worth around £40,000.

2. Hardcover signed 1st edition of Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett worth around £9,000.

3. Set of four first editions of Winnie the Pooh in a black custom box worth around £5,000.

4. Hardcover first edition of The Hobbit from 1937 worth around £7,000.

5. First impression of The Great Gatsby from 1925 in a dark blue custom case worth around £2,000.

6. Paperback copy of Brief History of Time from 1983 with a thumbprint signature by Stephen Hawking.

7. Two first editions of the Gunslinger by Stephen King worth around £2,000 each.

8. Sketchbook from the 1820s/1840s by an unknown artist including pencil and watercolor sketches.

In total, 13 books were stolen but their worth overall runs into the thousands (YouTube)

Watch the daring heist below:

All in all, the thieves were very particular with what books they took and they took 1st editions of practically all of them. This looks like it could be an inside job but we won't know until the culprits are caught.

Please contact PC Weigelt-Holmes at Thetford Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you have any information on the thieves or the whereabouts of the books.

If you have any views or stories that you would like to share with us, drop us an email at writetous@meawwworld.com

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Varsha Vasudevan


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