Library book returned to UK from Canada 18 years late

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Salisbury LibraryImage source, Salisbury Library
Image caption,
The book was returned with a note apologising for "stealing" the book

A book has been returned by post from Canada to a library in Wiltshire more than 18 years late.

Originally due back at Salisbury Library on 30 January 2003 the overdue book arrived at the library last week.

The story book - Bullies Don't Hurt by Anthony Masters - was sent with an anonymous note which read: "I deeply apologise for having stolen this book".

Manager Philip Tomes said: "They didn't sign their name, they obviously still feel a bit uncomfortable about it."

The "rather special delivery" and "very apologetic note" arrived in a brown paper parcel with a postmark from Quebec in Canada.

The library said there was no way of knowing who borrowed it as they had only signed their name "M.M".

"It's such a long time ago, the book has gone off the system," said Mr Tomes.

"So we haven't got a name and there's no record of it."

Image source, Salisbury Library
Image caption,
The book was due to be returned on or before 30 January 2003

At the current rate of 21p per day, the book's return would have incurred a late return charge of roughly £1,400.

But Mr Tomes said library fines are capped at £7, and it had cost the reader "almost that much to post it back".

"It's probably the most overdue book we've had but we're very grateful for all the books returned," he said.

He added: "People shouldn't feel uncomfortable about returning overdue books, we won't throw them in the lock up.

"And if [the anonymous returner] is reading this: 'you are absolutely forgiven and thank you for going to such great lengths to return your book'."

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