A library worker is being investigated by police after thousands of pounds worth of rare books and documents vanished from Manchester’s Central Library.
The losses came to light after someone approached Manchester council – which runs the library – to say some of the books had been advertised on the eBay auction website.
The police were called in and took hundreds of books from the employee’s home.
At least one of the missing books is thought to be over 300 years old and worth more than £20,000. The total value of the missing volumes is thought to be in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The worker was arrested following the search and released on bail while police continue to sift through items recovered from his home.
A police spokesman said: “A man was arrested in relation to the theft of a number of books from Manchester Central Library.
“The man from Hulme has been bailed until June 28, pending further enquiries.”
The library built in the 1930’s, is home to thousands of books, boasting extensive archives and valuable reference materials. In 2000, precious archives were unlocked for a major exhibition celebrating 150 years of public access to archives at the library.
The exhibition included a copy of the first Radio Times, a hand-written songbook from George Harrison and a Manchester theatre programme listing Dickens as a cast member.
Several manuscripts, including volumes from the Manchester Concerto Partbooks, acknowledged as an important source of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, were also displayed.
Manchester council has declined to comment on the investigation.
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