British Museum's lost 2,000

The British Museum says that more than 2000 items are missing from its collection and that 28 items have been stolen in recent years. "While the thefts represent a tiny fraction of the 150 million items in the library's possession, the stolen items are valued at £100,000, with a number of rare maps and illustrated plates ripped from antique books by international thieves. A single plate cut from a 1522 volume on Pompeii is worth £45,000. According to the library, the most serious thefts are the carefully targeted removal of antique maps and plates from rare books by professional thieves, who may use a hidden razor blade to slice out the page. Map thief Peter Bellwood, who disguised himself as a bumbling academic to take thousands of rare maps, was jailed in 2004 for stealing 50 maps from the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth. He was also jailed in 1996 for removing more than 1,000 plates, illustrations and prints from a dozen libraries, including the British Library. For the full story - click the title Irish Art