A THIEF who stole and sold on thousands of books from universities has been jailed for 25 months.

Police said Darren Barr, 28, made tens of thousands of pounds selling books stolen from Edinburgh Napier University, Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh between October 2017 and August 2018.

Officers were initially called in when staff at Edinburgh Napier University carried out an inventory check of their texts and found several thousand were missing.

Police Scotland said that as part of the investigation almost 1300 stolen books were recovered from across the UK and it was established 260 of them had been taken from the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University, with the others belonging to Edinburgh Napier University.

The force said it was established around 7000 had already been sold online, with Barr making almost £40,000 in profit.

Barr pleaded guilty to four charges of theft when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in July, a court spokesman said.

He was sentenced to 25 months behind bars when he appeared at the court today.

Detective Sergeant Dougal Begg from Corstorphine CID said: "This is one of the most brazen and high-value thefts from our universities that I can ever recall and the amount of money Darren Barr was able to make by resetting stolen books is staggering.

"Had it not been for the staff at Edinburgh Napier University raising their concerns about missing stock we may never have uncovered what Barr was up to and even larger quantities of books may have ended up being taken from the institutions.

"We conducted a thorough investigation that identified the scale of Darren Barr's offending and ensured he was brought to justice.

"All reports of acquisitive crime are treated with the utmost seriousness and a professional and robust inquiry will always be carried out to identify those responsible."