Former librarian Norman Buckley, who stole more than 450 rare books and other items worth upwards of £175,000 from the Manchester Central Library so that he could sell them over the internet, was sentenced today to 250 hours of community service, the BBC reports. He also received a 15-month jail term, but that's been suspended for two years and he'll probably never serve it.
"Judge Clement Goldstone QC told Buckley his sentence was suspended because he had helped police find the books, which the judge described as part of the city's 'literary heritage'. 'Every time you offered a book for sale, you were breaking the trust that had been placed in you. The ultimate loss to the city and its heritage may have been measured, if it can be measured at all, in the thousands of pounds rather than the tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds. You have bought shame on yourself and your family by your behaviour.'"
I don't even have the words to express how stunned I am at this (although considering the recent Smiley verdicts I suppose I shouldn't be surprised). This is an absolutely ridiculous sentence for such an outrage against our cultural heritage. Buckley should have been made an example of. Instead, as the Guardian notes, he "walked free from court."
Something's wrong with this picture.