Page last updated at 12:24 GMT, Monday, 13 June 2005 13:24 UK

Pair in court over Potter theft

Aaron Lambert
Mr Lambert is charged with the theft of the new Harry Potter book

Two men have appeared before Kettering Magistrates in Northants charged in connection with the theft of the new Harry Potter book.

Aaron Lambert, 19, and Christopher Brown, 37, were accused of offering two stolen copies of the new book to Sun newspaper reporter John Askill.

The pair, of Tresham Street, Kettering, were also accused of weapons offences.

Mr Lambert was given bail until 10 October, and Mr Brown bailed to return to the magistrates court in two weeks.

Justices were told witness statements relating to Mr Brown's alleged part in the case had not been prepared.

He faces one count of handling the stolen books - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - and one of possession of an offensive weapon.

Mr Lambert, who will appear before Northampton Crown Court in October, is accused of possessing an imitation firearm, a replica handgun with intent to cause Mr Askill to fear unlawful violence.

He is also charged with stealing two copies of the book from a distribution centre in Corby.

The two men were charged on Friday, 3 June after an armed police operation.

Potter author JK Rowling has since won a High Court injunction to stop details of her book emerging.

It is due to be published on 16 July.

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