The thieves had torn the manuscript up and have been selling the pieces separately. / sur

Police in Malaga have recovered a historic manuscript that was stolen in Peru

The document dates back to 1563 and had been acquired in good faith by a bookshop owner who was advertising it for sale on the Internet

IRENE QUIRANTE Malaga

Police in Malaga have recovered a historic manuscript written in 1563 which had been stolen from the Arequipa regional archive in Peru some years ago and was being offered for sale on an Internet website. They had been investigating the case since January, at the request of Interpol.

The two-page document was being sold by the owner of a bookshop in Malaga for 300 euros; it was described as “a letter of grant or a deed of lands in Peru to Diego de Aguilar, dated 1563”. The police say the man has collaborated fully with the investigation and provided all the documentation relating to his purchase of the manuscript. As he had bought it several years ago and the period during which action could be taken against him had expired, he did not legally have to cooperate.

The police had to go to great lengths to check that this was the same document that had been stolen, comparing it with information from the Peruvian Ministry of Culture. It was difficult to ascertain because the manuscript that was stolen was considerably larger: the thieves had torn it into sections in order to sell them separately and make more money.

The document has now been delivered to the Peruvian Embassy.