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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 May, 2004, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Library man 'stole' 56,000 photos
Yalta Conference 1945
Photos of the 1945 Yalta Conference were allegedly stolen
A visitor to one of Britain's biggest picture libraries is alleged to have stolen thousands of pounds worth of photos over eight years, a court heard.

Adrian Rigelsford, 34, from Huntingdon, Cambs, denies one count of theft from Kensington-based Associated Newspapers.

Blackfriars Crown Court was told an inquiry began after some of the library's photos were spotted in a London shop in 2002.

The photos were said to include turn of the century shots of the Royal family.

Also among the haul, the court was told, were photos of the Yalta Conference - the 1945 meeting of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin to discuss post-conflict Europe.

Penny Rector, prosecuting, said they had all been part of a library owned by Associated Newspapers.

Found in a skip

"The prosecution say that over a considerable time - 1994 to 2002 - he stole thousands of photographs... and sold them on," she said.

The court heard police traced some of the pictures and estimated the defendant had made more than 75,000 from selling them.

About 56,000 prints were alleged to have been sold to two shops in London.

When interviewed Mr Rigelsford denied any wrong doing, insisting he had come into possession of the photographs innocently.

He said some had come from a skip outside the library - a security guard told him it was "okay" to take them - and others from a sack being thrown out by a cleaner.

Mr Rigelsford had been visiting the library for 10 years and was trusted to collect and return photos by himself.

The case was adjourned until Wednesday.

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