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Last Updated:  Friday, 4 April, 2003, 13:59 GMT 14:59 UK
Library suspect on wanted list
Peter Bellwood
Police want to question Peter Bellwood about map theft
A man wanted for questioning by police about the theft of rare maps from The National Library of Wales is on the UK's 10 most wanted list.

The Metropolitan Police has launched a website listing the top 10 most wanted fugitives in the UK.

It includes Peter Joseph Bellwood, 50, who is wanted by police in both Wales and Denmark following thousands of thefts of high-value maps from libraries across Europe.

Detectives at Aberystwyth want to talk to Mr Bellwood after several rare maps - thought to be worth tens of thousands of pounds - were stolen from The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth before March 2001.

We want to question Mr Bellwood in connection to thefts from the National Library and our inquiries are continuing
Detective Inspector Gareth Jones

It is understood that library staff only discovered the theft after reading on the internet that Mr Bellwood was suspected of raiding European library treasures.

His picture revealed the suspect had been a visitor to the National Library.

And when staff checked antiquarian maps they discovered that they had also become victims of theft.

Mr Bellwood is suspected of visiting libraries and cutting out prints and maps from rare antiquarian books dating from the 16th and 17th century which can be sold for between 500 and 10,000 to markets.

Security system

Detective Inspector Gareth Jones of Aberystwyth police said several items had been stolen from the National Library. However, he could not put a price to these items.

"We want to question Mr Bellwood in connection to thefts from the National Library and our inquiries are continuing," he said.

The library houses the largest number of books in Wales, and maintains a copy of every Welsh publication.

"The library is always most aware of the need for the utmost care for our collections and building," said Ann Ffrancon Jenkins, the National Library's head of marketing.

"We continuously strive to improve the security system in the library."

If anyone spots people included on the most wanted website they are urged to contact police.

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