THE man at the centre of an international investigation into the theft of a £15m edition of Shakespeare yesterday staged a protest outside the scene of the crime.
Raymond Scott, 51, is the subject of an ongoing transatlantic police probe into the theft of a Shakespeare first folio from Durham University Library.
Last month, he lodged a civil claim at Durham County Court to obtain the copy so he can prove it is not the copy stolen in 1998 and, instead, a copy he acquired in Cuba from a friend.
But having been denied access to the book, which is evidence in the investigation, Mr Scott staged a protest outside the Durham library, carrying a placard reading “Free the Cuban copy”.
Mr Scott, a bachelor who lives with his elderly mother, Hannah, in Wigeon Close, Washington, on Wearside, reiterated his belief that he will be proven innocent.
“I’ve nothing to hide,” he said. Vast resources have been expended on their inquiries out of proportion to the impact the theft of books a decade ago had on the community of Durham.” Meanwhile, it emerged this week that Mr Scott is to go on trial – accused of stealing two books worth £50 from Waterstones.
The titles of the alleged stolen books are unknown, but they are understood to be worth a total of £50.99 – a world away from the value of the Shakespeare volume, which has been described as the most important printed work in the English language.
Appearing at Gateshead Magistrates’ Court on October 30, Mr Scott pleaded not guilty to a single charge of theft on September 25, and the case was adjourned.
He was granted bail and will face trial before magistrates early in the new year.
He was also arrested on Monday in connection with a separate alleged theft from a store in Newcastle city centre.
The nature and value of the items concerned are unknown. Mr Scott refused to comment on these accusations.
It is understood he was released on bail until later this month. No charges have been made.
Mr Scott made headlines around the world in July when he presented a book of Shakespeare works to the internationally respected Folger Shakespeare Library, in Washington DC, US.
He claimed to have bought it in Cuba – the home of his fiancee, Heidy Ross, a 21-year-old dancer.
After analysing the book, library experts became concerned it was the Shakespeare first folio stolen from Durham University library shortly before Christmas in 1998.