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The Antiquarian Bookseller's Association are actively involved in the police investigation and Pom Harrington of the ABA Security Committee is expected to give evidence as an expert witness following the arrest of the 65-year-old from Lymington.

The unnamed man was taken to Lyndhurst Police Station earlier this month on suspicion of fraud by misrepresentation. Officers also seized calligraphy pens, ink and about 30 books.

Suspicions arose after a number of books and memorabilia were offered for sale during the last 18 months, purportedly bearing the signature of Winston Churchill, the former prime minister and war leader.

A force spokesman said: "These items were all purportedly signed by Churchill himself, thereby increasing their value as much as 1000 per cent.

"Attempts at selling the items are believed to have been made via eBay or directly to victims."