Books worth millions stolen in London heist

Three raiders reportedly abseiled 40ft down from the roof while avoiding motion sensor alarms in a raid that has been compared to Mission: Impossible

Books worth millions stolen in London heist

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A book dealer who had £1m (€1.2m) worth of his antique works stolen from a warehouse has said he is "very upset."

Alessandro Meda Riquier said 51 of his books were being stored in the building near Heathrow Airport before they were due to be flown to an event in California.

In total, some 160 publications worth more than £2m (€2.35) were taken in last month's audacious burglary - which has been likened to a scene in Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible.

Three raiders reportedly climbed onto the roof of the warehouse in Feltham, west London, drilled through skylights and abseiled 40ft down while avoiding motion sensor alarms.

Among the works stolen was Mr Riquier's 1566 second edition of Nicolaus Copernicus' De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, which was reportedly worth around £215,000 (€252,608) and has been described as the "jewel" in the haul.

He has also lost important books by Galileo and a couple of very rare editions of Dante's Divine Comedy.

He told Sky News: "I'm very upset because this is not something you can buy everywhere.”

"Behind these books there is a lot of work because we have to search to try to find out where the books are - auction houses, collectors, colleagues - and there's big research behind these books."

He added: "They are not only taking money away from me but also a big part of my job."

Mr Riquier also said about 90% of a German colleague's books were taken as well as 60% of an Italian's collection.

The raiders apparently prised open four containers and checked the books against stock lists, discarding the ones they did not want.

Reports said the selected books were put in holdalls and pulled up to the roof with ropes before being lowered down to a waiting van where they were driven away.

There is speculation the raid was done to order.

It is thought the works, including many from the 15th and 16th centuries, would be impossible to sell to a reputable dealer or auction house.

Mr Riquier said: "It's impossible that these books will be on the regular market."

"Maybe you can go to someone and show him a book that has a value of £200,000 and ask him for £1,000 for that book," he said.

"Everyone in this business has clear knowledge of what has been stolen and what could be offered to them."

Scotland Yard said the burglary happened between 29 and 30 January.