Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Saturday, 24 May 2008 10:32 UK

Man sought after rare books taken

William Simon Jacques
Mr Jacques had been signing in under a pseudonym, police have said

Police are trying to trace a man who has disappeared since his arrest over the theft of rare books from the Royal Horticultural Society in London.

William Simon Jacques, 39, was held after several works vanished at the society's building in Vincent Square.

He was bailed to return to a police station but has since gone missing.

The items taken include 13 volumes of a rare collection on the camellia flower, valued at about 50,000, plus several other highly-prized 19th Century books.

'Odd manner'

Originally staff at the society had noticed a man "acting in an odd manner", police said, and apparently putting something inside his jacket.

He was believed to be signing in - but often not signing out - of the organisation's library under the name of "Mr Santoro".

A joint investigation between police and the society staff led to the arrest of Mr Jacques, a former Cambridge University student, on 2 April.

He is alleged to have held a library card under the pseudonym of "Mr Santoro" and a list of rare books.

The Metropolitan Police have urged anyone who knows of Mr Jacques, or the theft of the books, to contact them.

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