Page last updated at 13:07 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008 14:07 UK

Bard's stolen work returns to UK

Title page of Shakespeare first folio
The first folio was one of several items stolen in December 1998

A 400-year-old volume of Shakespeare's work worth £15m has been returned to the UK - 10 years after it was stolen.

The 1623 first folio (wide-paged book) was one of a number of literary works taken from Durham University in 1998.

It has been escorted back to a secret location by detectives, after allegedly being handed to experts in Washington DC for valuation.

Raymond Scott, 51, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, has been bailed pending further police inquiries.

The book surfaced in June, when a man walked into the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC, claiming to have discovered the volume in Cuba, and asked for it to be verified as genuine.

Experts soon realised the book was stolen and called in the British Embassy, Durham Police and the FBI.

Secure conditions

Mr Scott has publicly professed his innocence.

The literary treasure was accompanied back to the UK through Heathrow and to Durham Tees Valley Airport, near Darlington, by Det Insp Mick Callan and Det Con Tim Lerner, of Durham Police's major crime team.

They spent the last week in the American capital taking statements from witnesses.

Det Insp Callan said: "The book will now be held in secure and controlled conditions while our inquiries into this matter continue."

Professor Chris Higgins, vice chancellor of Durham University, said: "We are pleased the Shakespeare First Folio is back in Durham and we await the outcome of the police investigation."

Mr Scott is due to answer bail in mid-November.



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