JK Rowling begs fans not to buy rare Harry Potter prequel

goss 15/05/2017

A rare handwritten Harry Potter prequel has been stolen in a burglary.

The story was bought at a charity auction in 2008 for £25,000 (NZ$46,950), and there are fears thieves will bin it without realising its worth.

The item is now thought to be worth up to £60,000 (NZ$112,698).

JK Rowling wrote the 800-word prequel on a postcard, and has issued a plea to fans not to buy the work - the only handwritten copy in existence.

"PLEASE DON'T BUY THIS IF YOU'RE OFFERED IT", she asked of her 10 million Twitter followers. "Originally auctioned for [English PEN], the owner supported writers' freedoms by bidding for it."

It was taken alongside jewellery from a safe house in Birmingham while the owner, known only as Hira, was away on a business trip.

"I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan," he told The Telegraph, "But I took good care of it. The card never came out of the box."

Hira says it appears the story was not the target of the theft, and fears it will be disposed of.

West Midlands Police have appealed for information in hope "the appeal goes far and wide among Harry Potter fans throughout the world".

The prequel is set three years before Harry Potter is born, and features the wizard's father, James, and godfather, Sirius Black, when they were schoolboys.

Ten thousand printed copies of the story were sold in bookshops.