The EU's Court of Justice has said that a succession of courts around Europe were within their rights to keep handing on a British antique-map thief, so he could serve fresh sentences in every country where he had plundered cartographic treasures from their national libraries.


Since 1995 Melvin West has done time in the UK, Hungary and Finland for his light-fingeredness.

Now France wants to lock him away for another three years for stealing ancient maps from its national library.

Britain - who had handed West over to the Hungarians - said no.

But the EU court late last week said it wasn't up to Britain, but up to the judiciary that had handed him over to the Finns. And the Hungarians, who had lost several valuable 17th century atlases to West's scalpel, were only too happy to see him passed on to the French.

Below, in an idiom BM feels sure Mr West will understand most clearly, is his judicial trajectory to date.

With reports of similar raids by thieves suspected to be West and/or his sometime accomplice in Stockholm  and Copenhagen in the early noughties, the map may yet need updating in another three years...




(incidentally, reports of those thefts written by senior members of the Stockholm and Copenhagen library staff are almost as colourful as the Independent's or the Observer's write-up at the time. "The icy draught of suspicion and mistrust blows through the library" wrote Copenhagen's National Library chief security adviser Jesper Duering Jorgensen. Stockholm's national librarian Tomas Lidman, meanwhile, wrote that "It was, according to the police, more likely to be two different individuals, either working together or somehow coordinating their shady dealings." Too much time spent in the Dan Brown section, maybe?)





BM

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