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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 May, 2003, 08:51 GMT 09:51 UK
Inquiry into 'dumped' Potter books
JK Rowling
The author is unlikely to be impressed by the reported mishap

Police are being called in to investigate the suspected thefts of two copies of the eagerly awaited fifth Harry Potter book.

Author JK Rowling's agent said an inquiry had being launched following the reported find of two books dumped in a field near to a printing works.

Copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix were discovered by a walker in Bungay, Suffolk, who immediately contacted the Sun newspaper, which now has them in its possession.

The fifth instalment of the wizarding adventures is not due to be published until 21 June.

The author's publisher, Bloomsbury, said legal steps were being taken to "prevent any part of the book being unlawfully disclosed in advance of the book's publication date to avoid disappointment to readers".

And Neil Blair, from literary agency Christopher Little, said: "This is a matter that we are currently investigating and the investigation is focusing on the suspicion that this involved a theft."

'Shifty'

The copies were reportedly found a quarter of a mile (400 metres) from Clays Ltd, which will print hundreds of thousands of the book.

The walker, an unnamed 40-year-old father-of-two, telephoned The Sun, according to the newspaper.

It sent a journalist to bring the books to its headquarters in Wapping, east London, and is arranging to return them to publishers Bloomsbury.

The newspaper is also convinced a third copy is also in circulation, reporting a separate incident where a "shifty sounding" man had asked the newspaper for 25,000 in a suitcase for the first three chapters of the book.

The books, found without covers, were dedicated to JK Rowling's husband, Dr Neil Murray, 37, and her two children, with the inscription: "To Neil, David and Jessica who make my world magical."

The schoolboy wizard has already earned the author 280m, reportedly making her richer than the Queen.

Suffolk Police said it had received a call and it was planning to speak to the complainant later on Tuesday.




SEE ALSO:
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02 May 03  |  Entertainment
Harry Potter's magician
18 Feb 03  |  Entertainment
'Potter in Calcutta' banned
30 Apr 03  |  South Asia
Harry Potter lifts Bloomsbury
20 Mar 03  |  Business


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