The man who sold stolen travel books from a van in Concert Hall Approach was on Friday jailed for two and half years.
Described as a modern-day Fagin, 61 year-old Ronald Jordan used a 15-strong gang to carry out daily raids on bookshops across London and the south east and paid the theives £1 per book.
Jordan would then stack the stolen books on tables to sell them at bargain prices to a steady stream of eager readers in Concert Hall Approach, a South Bank street linking the Festival Hall to Waterloo station.
Southwark Crown Court heard that by the time police finally caught up with him many retailers were refusing to stock certain children's and travel books they knew from bitter experience would be stolen within the hour.
As soon as Jordan was arrested, their losses plunged dramatically.
Police officers searched his four-bedroom house in Finchley and found a staggering 25,000 books worth £250,000 and stacked floor to ceiling the length of the hallway and on every stair.