Two Charles Darwin manuscripts have been reported as stolen from Cambridge University library two decades after they were last seen.
Staff believed the precious items had been “mis-shelved” within the vast archives late in 2000 and the matter was not reported to Cambridgeshire police until 20 October this year. The force said it has launched an investigation and notified Interpol.
Dr Mark Purcell, the deputy director of Research Collections, said he was confident the manuscripts could not be sold on the open market and it was possible they had “gone to ground”.
He said he hoped for a similar outcome to that of London’s Lambeth Palace, where items were stolen after bombing during the second world war.
“Forty-plus years later, quite literally as the consequence of a deathbed crisis of conscience, those items came to light and were returned to Lambeth and I think that’s the sort of outcome which we and all institutions of this kind would clearly wish to hope for,” he said.
Hacker: You said you'd heard this rumour, I said is it true, you said yes! Bernard: I said yes, it was true that it was a rumour. Hacker: You said you heard it was true! Bernard: No, I said it was true that I heard it!