Man returns Thomas the Tank Engine book to library fifty YEARS late but dodges potential £8,000 fee


Man returns Thomas the Tank Engine book to a library almost fifty YEARS late after taking it out as a child – but dodges a potential £8,000 late fee

  • The man returned the book to the library after borrowing it as a child in 1972
  • Posted it to Basingstoke Discovery Centre with an apology note for ‘late return’
  • Council said it was a ‘thoughtful gesture’ and it would not be charging any fees

A man has returned a Thomas the Tank Engine book to a library almost fifty years late, with an apologetic note – and dodged a potential £8,000 fee.

The missing Thomas the Tank Engine and Learning in Colour books suddenly turned up in the post at the Basingstoke Discovery Centre, Hampshire with an apologetic note.  

Signed by ‘Andy’, it read: ‘We inadvertently took these books when we moved as children from Basingstoke in 1972. Please accept my apologies for the late return of these items.’

‘Andy’ returned the books to Basingstoke Discovery Centre, 48 years later with a note

Hampshire County Council, who run the library, said it was a ‘thoughtful gesture’ and would not be enforcing any late fees.

And it’s lucky for ‘Andy’ – as he could have been slapped with a charge of £8,000 using today’s rates.

Basingstoke Discovery Centre thanked Andy with a post on their Facebook page: ‘Thank you Andy for returning our books, after 48 years ! That must be a record?! 

‘Your note really made us smile and we loved looking through them. Thankfully no late charges applied.’ 

Learning With Colour Architecture: The Great Art of Building by Trewin Copplestone, and The Railway Series No. 22: Small Railway Engines (Classic Thomas the Tank Engine) by Rev. W. Awdry had arrived in a Royal Mail parcel. 

Hampshire County Council thanked 'Andy' and it would not be charging any fees

Hampshire County Council thanked ‘Andy’ and it would not be charging any fees

Seán Woodward, from the council, said: ‘As we don’t have contact details for Andy, we haven’t been able to thank him directly but we hope he knows how much we appreciate his thoughtful gesture and how much joy it has brought to our staff and library customers.’

Fines for overdue library books have been frozen since April due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the authority has urged people to return any books they had kept during the lockdown. 

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