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Clays employee stole books and sold them

PUBLISHED: 16:40 19 June 2008 | UPDATED: 07:28 01 August 2010

A BOOK thief has been left ruing the antics of Harry Potter after new security measures inspired by the boy wizard helped snare him.

Jason Hipperson, 37, worked for Clay's Printers in Bungay - but he was taking a range of books home to sell them on the internet.

A BOOK thief has been left ruing the antics of Harry Potter after new security measures inspired by the boy wizard helped snare him.

Jason Hipperson, 37, worked for Clay's Printers in Bungay - but he was taking a range of books home to sell them on the internet.

And while the production controller was stealing the books, he was unaware that thanks to the previous high-profile theft of top secret Harry Potter pages at Clay's he was being closely scrutinized.

Yesterday, Hipperson, of Bluebell Way, Worlingham, was ordered to do 180 hours' unpaid work after he admitted taking books from Clay's over 11 months in 2007.

He put the books on the Ebay auction website for sale at about £5 a time.

Yarmouth magistrates heard Hipperson's thefts were unearthed thanks to stringent security put in place at the site since the theft in 2003 of three chapters of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Although Clay's employees were allowed to take certain books home for themselves before 2003, the Harry Potter incident led to a clampdown on books being taken out without being recorded properly by managers.

Because of the new book database, Clay's began to suspect Hipperson's activities.

Sara Borthwick, prosecuting, said: “What Clay's had done some time following the thefts of the first edition Harry Potter books was to implement a new system.

“The operations director reported to the police that she had suspicions that the defendant had been taking books off site and had been selling them on Ebay.

“He was seen in and around areas on the shop floor where his jobs did not ordinarily allow him to go.”

It was not clear how many books Hipperson took without permission over the 11-month period or how much he had gained from selling them on the internet.

The court heard none of the books put up for sale was exclusive or top secret and that Hipperson had been sacked by Clay's for gross misconduct.

Malcolm Simpson, for Hipperson, said: “He was only selling books made available to the public through the normal channels. He has lost a promising career at Clay's as a result of this offence. He expresses a great deal of remorse for having done it.”

Hipperson, who had no previous convictions, was also ordered to pay costs of £60.

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