Two British men were charged on Saturday with firearms offenses after allegedly trying to sell a stolen copy of the new Harry Potter book to a tabloid newspaper before its release.
Police were called to an address in Kettering in central England on Friday after reports of a shot being fired.
The Sun newspaper said the incident came as the men tried to sell one of its reporters a stolen copy of “Harry Potter And the Half-Blood Prince” for 50,000 pounds ($90,880).
Northamptonshire police confirmed two men from Kettering had been charged in connection with the incident.
“A 37-year-old has been charged with possession of an offensive weapon and handling a stolen book,” a police spokesman said.
“A 19-year-old man has been charged with the theft of the book and a possession of an imitation firearm intending to cause fear of violence.”
The latest Harry Potter book, set to be released on July 16, is the sixth installment in the hugely popular series about a boy wizard written by British author J.K. Rowling.
The fifth adventure, published in 2003, made publishing history by selling 5 million copies within 24 hours.
Orders for the hugely-anticipated sixth book made it the top seller on Amazon.com in the United States and Britain months before its publication.
Rowling’s legal firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain issued a statement saying it had obtained an injunction against the two arrested men.
“This order was made following our client’s discovery that a copy of the forthcoming Harry Potter Book, Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince, had been obtained by unauthorized persons who had subsequently offered the book to newspaper journalists,” the statement said.
The Sun said it had intended to expose the men’s attempt to cash in on stolen copy which was now safely in the possession of police.
Police said the two suspects had been granted bail and were due to appear before magistrates early next week.