Bookworm who stole 7,000 books from university libraries earned £40,000 from their online sale

Telegraph Reporters
Darren Barr  has been jailed for 25 months after he stole and sold on thousands of books from universities - PA

A bookworm who stole titles from the University of Edinburgh and other institutions raked in £40,000 from flogging them online - but was jailed on Wednesday.

Darren Barr, 28, who also used the name Alexander Van De Kamp, was sentenced to more than two years after the 'brazen' thefts.

Barr stole thousands of books from the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University and Heriot Watt University.

In less than a year, between October 2017 and August 2018, he took around 7,000 books and resold them online.

The lucrative thefts netted him about £40,000 - and 1,300 books have so far been recovered from across Britain.

Some 260 of the recovered books belonged to the University of Edinburgh and Heriot Watt, while the majority had been nicked from Edinburgh Napier University - which called in police after discovering the scale of missing books.

Barr stole thousands of books from the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University and Heriot Watt University. Credit: Getty Images

Barr was arrested and charged in connection with the theft and illegal resale of the books in September last year.

He was sentenced to 25 months when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to four counts of theft.

Detective Sergeant Dougal Begg from Corstorphine CID said: "This is one of the most brazen and high-value thefts from our universities that I can ever recall and the amount of money Darren Barr was able to make by resetting stolen books is staggering.

"Had it not been for the staff at Edinburgh Napier University raising their concerns about missing stock, we may never have uncovered what Barr was up to and even larger quantities of books may have ended up being taken from the institutions.

"We conducted a thorough investigation that identified the scale of Darren Barr's offending and ensured he was brought to justice.

"All reports of acquisitive crime are treated with the utmost seriousness and a professional and robust inquiry will always be carried out to identify those responsible."