A MAN suspected of plundering valuable antique horticultural books from a world-famous library has been arrested in Selby after more than two years on the run.

William Jacques, 40, is alleged to have stolen 13 volumes, worth £50,000, from the Royal Horticultural Society’s London library.

The former Cambridge University student, currently of no fixed abode but formerly of Selby and York, disappeared after being released on bail by police in April 2007.

Scotland Yard said Jacques was held in Selby on Christmas Day by local officers acting on a tip-off.

A spokesman said he had been charged with the theft of a book entitled Nouvelle Iconographies des Camellias, by Ambroise Verschaffelt.

The volumes contained an array of coloured plates of camellias by the 19th-century Belgian author and explanatory text.

It is alleged Jacques stole them by signing in to the library under the false name of Mr Santoro and then hiding them under his jacket.

None of the stolen books have been traced and police urged antique booksellers to contact them if they are offered for sale.

Jacques will appear in custody at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court tomorrow.