Page last updated at 12:08 GMT, Friday, 26 February 2010

Durham man denies theft of Shakespeare first edition

Raymond Scott
Mr Scott will appear in court again in May

A County Durham antiques dealer has denied stealing a £3m first edition of Shakespeare's works dating from 1623.

Raymond Scott, 53, of Wingate, near Peterlee, was originally arrested in June 2008 on suspicion of taking the folio from Durham University in 1998.

He appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on Friday to deny three charges of theft, handling stolen goods and removing criminal property.

He was released on conditional bail and the case was adjourned until May.

The investigation which led to Mr Scott's arrest began in the United States after a man walked into the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC with the 400-year-old book.

Army fatigues

The man claimed to have discovered it in Cuba, and asked for it to be verified as genuine.

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

It led to the arrest of Mr Scott, who lived with his then 80-year-old mother in Washington, Tyne and Wear.

Mr Scott appeared in court dressed in green army fatigues and his trademark £3,000 Christian Dior sunglasses.

He spoke only to answer his name and to plead not guilty to the three charges put to him.

A provisional date for trial was set for June.

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