Two men were being hunted today (weds) after a book business was broken into and a rare Harry Potter first edition worth £40,000 stolen.

The hardcover Bloomsbury copy of J.K.Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone stored in a red, custom made box was among a number of valuable books taken.

The prized novel was taken from S N Books, one of the largest on-line book retailers in the UK, between 11.50pm on Monday, January 8 and 1.30am the following day.

The owner of the store, who wished to remained anonymous said: "I've never been burgled before and it's really bizarre what's actually happened.

"The person stole a really small amount of collectible books- which are of an exceptionally high value.

"But they left a lot of things that are obviously valuable- they left computers and other things that were valuable."

Amongst the other items stolen are:

A hardcover signed first edition of Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett worth around £9,000.

A set of four first editions of Winnie the Pooh in a black custom box worth around £5,000.

A hardcover first edition of The Hobbit from 1937 worth around £7,000.

A first impression of The Great Gatsby from 1925 in a dark blue custom case worth around £2,000.

A paperback copy of Brief History of Time from 1983 with a thumbprint signature by Stephen Hawking.

Evening Times:
(Credit: SWNS)

Two first editions of the Gunslinger by Stephen King worth around £2,000 each.

PC Gideon Weigelt-Holmes, of Thetford Police, said: “These books are very rare and in some cases unique and not the sort of thing you see every day.

“I am urging people, especially book dealers or those working in specialist book shops to be vigilant in case they are offered for sale.”

Anyone with information should contact PC Weigelt-Holmes at Thetford police on 101.

S N Books is based in Napier Place, Thetford, Norfolk.