Man jailed for stealing £80,000 worth of books from Edinburgh uni libraries

He then sold them back to students

A book thief who had stolen more than 7,000 books from Scottish universities has been jailed for 25 months.

Darren Barr stole books from three universities in Edinburgh to sell them online. It is believed that he made more than £80,000 from selling these books on websites like WeBuyBooks, Zift and Zapper.

Barr is believed to have stolen thousands of books from Edinburgh Napier University, as well as hundreds more, from Edinburgh and Heriott-Watt universities, during an 11-month crime spree.

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None of the books he stole were rare, but Edinburgh Napier have said the books he stole included texts which are incredibly sought after, including ones on nursing, business studies, human resources, criminology and marketing.

Barr pleaded guilty to four charges of theft, and faces an asset seizure under proceeds of criminal legislation, which is normally used for drug gangs and fraudsters.

Police Scotland have said they have found 1,300 stolen books around the UK, 260 of these were from Edinburgh University and Herriot Watt.

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An recreation of someone looking for a book Darren stole

Police Scotland issued a statement saying the theft was “the most brazen and high-value theft” from Scottish universities, and that the amount of money Barr was able to make was “staggering”.

The book selling site WeBuyBooks had paid Barr £10,612 for 1,995 books. Ziffit paid £18,600 for 4,448 books, and Zapper £1,238 for 253 books.

Napier University carried out a full audit and discovered between 4,400 and 4,250 of its books were missing, with a face value of £72,800.

The 230 books stolen from the University of Edinburgh were worth about £9,200.