More than 7,000 books are currently overdue for return to Cornwall’s libraries, the council has disclosed.

Out of a total of more than 750,000 books in stock, 7,296 were missing at the end of the last financial year. Their value is estimated at £87,500.

The book which is longest overdue at Falmouth library is The Chimney Sweeper, by John Peyton Cooke. It is a “gruesome and violent” detective story about the discovery of a transvestite’s body in a chimney flue. It was loaned in August 1996 and hasn’t been seen since.

The most-overdue book at Helston library is “Teach Your Child To Read” which was due for return in March 1996. Penryn library is still waiting for the return of “Care And Repair Of Sails,” overdue since February 1996.