Book thief 'Ronnie' jailed

For the last few years, bookshops across London have been aware of a gang of book thieves led by 'Ronnie' Jordan, who have been responsible for stealing millions of pounds worth of books (mostly travel guides). The books, mostly stolen for him by his minions, were generally sold on through stalls around London.

A group of bookshops, including The Owl Bookshop, who I work for, started the process of suing him for damages last year. Previous attempts at convictions had failed on technicalities, and so there was a fair amount of pressure to get it right this time, with the police mounting a huge operation. A truckload of books (literally) was seized from his house, where they were stacked up in every room. I spent an afternoon working with store detectives and 'loss prevention teams' from other retailers, going through this huge pile of books stored in a warehouse behind Liverpool St Police Station, looking for store identification marks with UV lights. Nearly all the books were unmarked, but I can proudly say that after several hours work I did find a book with a clearly visible 'Foyles' UV sticker, which may have then been used in court...

This week, the BBC has reported that Ronnie has been sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay £100,000 in damages as well as £280,000 in compensation.