JK Rowling has urged Harry Potter fans not to buy an untitled 800-word manuscript after it was stolen in a burglary in Birmingham.
Thieves with a taste for literature stole made off with an untitled prequel handwritten on a postcard by the author back in April.
Sold for £25,000 at a charity auction at Sotheby's in 2008, the A5 card features an 800-word story written by the world famous British author. The special postcard was stolen along with jewellery from a property in Howard Road, Kings Heath, during a break-in between 13 and 24 April, The Guardian reports.
A plea for more information has been issued by West Midlands police in the hope that "the appeal goes far and wide among Harry Potter fans throughout the world".
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 postcard was donated to an auction to raise funds for English PEN – which promotes understanding through literature and Dyslexia Action – and was among several works donated by famous authors including Sebastian Faulks and Doris Lessing.
The prequel was reportedly set three years before Harry Potter's birth and features the wizard's father, James Potter, and godfather Sirius Black when they were teenagers.
In the story, they are confronted by two police offers who are "muggles" – humans, in Harry Potter world – after a high-speed motorbike chase but manage to escape via broomsticks. Perhaps the burglars were after some escape plan tips...
Harry Potter – a hugely successful series of fantasy novels – continues to expand in its franchise with numerous derivative works, a travelling exhibition that premiered in Chicago in 2009, a studio tour in London that opened in 2012 among other things. Most recently, themed attractions – known as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – have been built at several amusement parks around the world.
Rowling has since retweeted the West Midlands Police, adding: "PLEASE DON'T BUY THIS IF YOU'RE OFFERED IT. Originally auctioned for @englishpen, the owner supported writers' freedoms by bidding for it."
If anyone knows the whereabouts of the postcard or information on the burglary, contact West Midlands police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.