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12 May 2017, 10:30
A postcard with an untitled Harry Potter prequel written by JK Rowling herself has been stolen in Birmingham.
An untitled Harry Potter prequel handwritten on a postcard by JK Rowling has been stolen in a burglary in Birmingham.
The "extremely valuable'' 800-word work was penned on both sides of the A5 card for a charity auction nine years ago and sold for £25,000 at Sotheby's.
The manuscript and a quantity of jewellery were stolen from a property in Howard Road, Kings Heath, during a break-in between April 13 and 24.
West Midlands Police have issued a plea for information in the hope that "the appeal goes far and wide among Harry Potter fans throughout the world.''
Investigating officer Pc Paul Jauncey said: "The only people who will buy this unique piece are true Harry Potter fans.
"We are appealing to anyone who sees, or is offered this item for sale, to contact police.''
The prequel was among several works donated by authors, including Sebastian Faulks and Doris Lessing, to an auction held in 2008 to raise funds for English PEN, which promotes understanding through literature, and Dyslexia Action.
Reportedly set three years before Harry Potter's birth, the prequel features the schoolboy wizard's father, James Potter, and godfather, Sirius Black, when they were teenagers.
They are confronted by two "muggle'' policemen after a high-speed motorbike chase but manage to escape on broomsticks.
Responding to news of the theft, Rowling retweeted a message issued by West Midlands Police appealing for information and featuring a picture of the short story.
The writer said: "PLEASE DON'T BUY THIS IF YOU'RE OFFERED IT. Originally auctioned for @englishpen, the owner supported writers' freedoms by bidding for it.''