INVALUABLE historical books have been stolen from Northwich Library in an act branded as ‘selfish’ by library staff.

The thieves stole eight titles from a locked glass cabinet, while the library, in Witton Street, was open to the public.

Sandra Taubinger, library manager, said: “It’s upset everybody here – it’s soul-destroying.

“It’s a very selfish act to deprive the community of the use of these books – we cannot replace them.

“It’s a community resource that has been stolen for someone’s personal gain or use.”

The books, which police say are valuable, include Anglorum Speculum the Worthies of England in Church and State; Howson and Rimmer, Chester As It Was; Britton’s Cheshire; Britton Bishop Hanley, Birds of Alderely (1914); Cheshire Extract from unidentified work; Hanshall History of County Palatine (1817); Holland – General View of the Agriculture of Cheshire and Irvine – History of Winnington Hall.

Sandra said: “These would have been of historical importance.

“As a community resource these books were invaluable.

“The books were free for people to come in and have a look – you don’t have to be a member.

“Anyone interested in local history collections could look and we would take the books out of the glass cases for people to look at.”

She added: “This leaves a very bitter taste in our mouths.”

Sandra said the cases, kept in the Colin Lynch room at the library, had been broken into deliberately.

“It looks like someone bent the locks and broke the glass – they’ve been quite determined,” she said.

The rest of the collection has been temporarily moved to Chester Record Office, until security can be reviewed at Northwich Library.

Northwich historian Colin Lynch said: “I’m shocked that these books have been stolen from my room, and that it’s been done in daylight.

“In a way, I agree that the collection should be moved to Chester but it defeats the object – why go to Chester to look at Northwich history?”

Sandra said staff hoped to get the collection returned to Northwich as soon as possible.

The books were taken between February 2 and 9.

Anyone with any information should ring police on 0845 458 0000 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.