THE deputy leader of Worcestershire County Council has lost a case brought by his brother, who accused him of stealing and selling a precious book.

The Worcester News recently reported how Councillor Adrian Hardman’s brother, Tim, had brought a claim against him saying he was owed the proceeds of the sale of a book about birds.

The full details of the long-running feud between the pair were heard by district judge Bosman at Cambridge County Court.

The case centred around Tim’s written statement, in which he alleged Cllr Hardman took property from their mother's home after her death in 1986, including The Birds of America by naturalist and painter John James Audubon.

Tim, 67, who lives in Cambridge, said the copy of the book belonged to him and was worth £127.50 - which is the amount Cllr Hardman has now been ordered to pay his brother by the judge in his ruling.

In his statement, Tim wrote: “Since I was my mother’s executor I might have expected in my role that I might have received the full help and co-operation of my immediate relatives and to have been informed of her death immediately. This didn’t happen. He (Cllr Hardman) stole a significant quantity of my mother’s possessions from her home and at the same time stole at least three of the books that I had left there for safe keeping.

"In the autumn of 2016 I noticed a copy had been sold by auction at Stroud Auction Rooms, an auction house near where Adrian lives. It had had no reserve price and it had gone under the hammer for £25. A visit to his house confirmed there was certainly no possibility of recovery.”

In the judgement, District Judge Bosman said he found that the book had been 'converted' by Cllr Hardman for his own use but his brother, Tim, had only discovered this when the book had been sold at auction in 2016.

Cllr Hardman, who is also the authority’s cabinet member responsible for adult social care and a former leader, was also ordered to pay costs of £60, with the total amount of £187.50 due by January 31.

Following the case Tim said: “I’m more relieved than pleased at this result. I brought this case on the principle, and to be respected as the will’s executor."

Cllr Hardman was unavailable for comment.

The case was heard on January 17.

A spokesman for Worcestershire County Council it would not be something the authority would get involved with, as it was a private matter.

READ MORE: Worcestershire councillor Adrian Hardman accused of theft by his own brother in court case