Page last updated at 12:37 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010

Men denies antique horticultural books theft

A man has denied stealing valuable antique books from a world-famous library in central London.

William Jacques is accused of stealing 13 volumes of Nouvelle Iconographies des Camellias from the Royal Horticultural Society's library.

Mr Jacques, 40, of no fixed address, was arrested on Christmas Day in Selby, North Yorkshire.

He appeared via video link at Southwark Crown court from Wandsworth Prison and is due to stand trial on 4 May.

Coloured plates

He also faces a charge of going equipped to commit theft.

The thefts are alleged to have taken place between December 2006 and February 2007.

The volumes, by Ambroise Verschaffelt, contain an array of coloured plates of camellias by the 19th Century Belgian author and explanatory text.

The Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley Library, in Vincent Square, is among the best in the world.

It holds books, journals, pictures and art on practical gardening, garden history, garden plants and design dating back to 1514.

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