Thief jailed for stealing thousands of university books

Darren Barr, 28, stole thousands of books from Edinburgh's universities.

Jailed: Darren Barr stole thousands of books. <strong>Police Scotland / Pixabay</strong>
Jailed: Darren Barr stole thousands of books. Police Scotland / Pixabay

A thief who stole thousands of books from Edinburgh’s universities has been jailed for 25 months.

Darren Barr – who is also known as Alexander Van De Kamp – stole and reset the literature from Edinburgh Napier University, Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh between October 2017 and August 2018.

The 28-year-old’s offences came to light when staff at Napier conducted an inventory check and found several thousand books to be missing.

As a result of an investigation carried out by Corstorphine CID, Barr was identified and almost 1300 stolen books were recovered from across the UK.


Examination of these items found that 260 of them had been taken from Edinburgh University and Heriot-Watt, with the others belonging to Napier.

It was established that around 7000 had already been sold online, with Barr raking in almost £40,000.

Following his sentencing hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Wednesday, detective sergeant Dougal Begg said: “This is one of the most brazen and high-value thefts from our universities that I can ever recall and the amount of money Darren Barr was able to make by resetting stolen books is staggering.

“Had it not been for the staff at Edinburgh Napier University raising their concerns about missing stock, we may never have uncovered what Barr was up to and even larger quantities of books may have ended up being taken from the institutions.


“We conducted a thorough investigation that identified the scale of Darren Barr’s offending and ensured he was brought to justice.

“All reports of acquisitive crime are treated with the utmost seriousness and a professional and robust inquiry will always be carried out to identify those responsible.”

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