'Book ripper' bringing misery to seaside town's literary lovers with serial vandalism

Nick Rogers with one of the books damaged by the Herne Bay Book Ripper. (Nick Rogers)

A seaside town has become the setting for a crime spree that has dismayed lovers of literature.

Books are being randomly ripped by a mystery vandal in Herne Bay, Kent, before they are replaced.

The BBC reports that the so-called Herne Bay Book Ripper has struck at both the town's library and at the Demelza charity shop.

Nick Rogers, shop manager, said: "We wouldn't sell a book with one page ripped, so with 20 or 30, they're absolutely ruined."

Nick Rogers with one of the books damaged by the Herne Bay Book Ripper. (Nick Rogers)

Staff first noticed the bizarre crime in the spring and believe more than 100 books have been damaged since, depriving the hospice charity of several hundred pounds.

Mr Rogers said: "We have no idea who did it. It's an L-shaped shop and these books are right around the corner - in the true crime section.

"We can't see anything, but we haven't heard anything, either, and you would think we might.

"But it is in full view of the window, so people walking by could see it happen."

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A Kent County Council spokesman said about 20 books in the town's library had been damaged, with pages sometimes being torn out completely.

He said: "The damage is obviously disappointing. However, we do not consider 20 books over six months to be an epidemic and not comparable to the situation at the Demelza charity shop.

"Our staff are now being extra watchful to try to catch the person responsible or at least cut down on the opportunities to cause more damage."

Kent Police said officers were investigating.

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