Expert who stole pages of rare texts has prison term halved

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An internationally-renowned scholar who was jailed for cutting out and stealing pages from rare and ancient literary texts had his sentence halved today.

Wealthy book collector Farhad Hakimzadeh, 61, of Knightsbridge, took pages from 10 books worth £71,000 at the British Library and carried out four raids on Oxford University's Bodleian Library.

Hakimzadeh pleaded guilty to 14 counts of theft in May last year at Wood Green crown court and was jailed for two years in January, but today

London's Criminal Appeal Court ruled that he should serve 12 months.

Hakimzadeh, an Iranian who has lived in Britain for more than 30 years, is an expert on cultural relations between Europe and Persia in the 15th and 16th centuries and is a former director of the Iran Heritage Foundation, which promotes Iran's culture.

He was caught when a reader in the British Library noticed that one text had a page missing. The library examined all 842 books which Hakimzadeh, among others, looked at between 1997 and 2005. The texts were mainly from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

When police visited Hakimzadeh's home they found matching copies of the British Library texts.

Experts inspected the gilt edging of pages, water stains and even worm holes to reveal that Hakimzadeh had taken pages. Thefts from the Bodleian Library, Oxford University's main research library, were found dating from 2003.

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