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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Man stole 50 maps from library
Peter Bellwood
Peter Bellwood used a razor to remove the maps
A man has admitted stealing 50 of the world's rarest maps from the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.

Peter Bellwood used a razor to cut out pages from rare atlases, and said he made 70,000 from selling them on.

At Swansea Crown Court, Bellwood, 50, from Colchester, Essex, admitted stealing maps from the library on six occasions, but denied one other theft.

He will be sentenced on 19 November after the judge ordered an investigation into his finances.

The court heard that he confessed to taking 50 maps, although the library said 105 had been taken.

They included pages from atlases produced by Mercator in 1619 and 1636 and John Speed's 1627 atlas as well as pages from works by Blaeu and Jansson.

Bellwood told the court he had sold the maps to collectors and said he had made 70,000 from the sales.

Peter Caldwell, defending, said his client's assets were zero and that the financial investigation would be "academic."

Creighton Harvey, prosecuting, said the prints and pages disappeared between March and August 2000.

Former landscape gardener Bellwood was arrested in July 2004.


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