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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 April, 2004, 14:07 GMT 15:07 UK
Briton returns book 42 years late
Mr Roscouet in the Floriana public library - courtesy of the Times of Malta
Mr Roscouet thought he might have been fined or imprisoned
An ex-RAF serviceman has been rewarded with a cup of tea after returning a book to Malta 42 years late.

Channel Islands resident Ernie Roscouet inadvertently packed the book when he left the Mediterranean island in 1962, the Times of Malta reported.

The Jerseyman said: "I felt guilty when I realised what happened. It's actually been on my conscience ever since."

He told the paper he expected a fine but got "trademark Maltese hospitality" from Floriana town library instead.

The Times said Mr Roscouet's wife gave him a trip to the former British territory for his 65th birthday.

He told the paper his first thought was: "Thank goodness, I can finally return the book - but God knows what the fine will be."


Mr Roscouet - who was posted to RAF Safi in 1959, five years before Malta's independence - used to borrow books from the National Library in the capital Valletta to learn about the history of the island.

The Times said an interest in guitar-playing led him to borrow the book on American folk music, which ended up on a shelf in his Channel Islands home.

The librarian who greeted Mr Roscouet said the case appeared to be a genuine oversight and told the paper he hoped it would encourage others to return their overdue books.

Mr Roscouet expressed some relief: "Here I was prepared to pay some massive fine or to be locked up for returning a book 42 years late and instead I have been treated with trademark Maltese hospitality".

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