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Arrests 'in Potter leak attempt'

The latest Potter installment by Rowling is to be released on July 16.
Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling
Great Britain
Crime, Law and Justice

LONDON, England -- Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has won a court order to stop two men leaking details of her latest work after they were arrested in a dramatic operation to recover two copies of the book.

The novel, due to be released July 16, was offered to two British newspapers -- one of which said one of the alleged sellers had fired a fake gun near its reporter.

Rowling was granted a British High Court injunction against the two men, ages 19 and 37, after they were accused of attempting to sell printed copies of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

Legal firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain issued a statement on Rowling's behalf, saying: "This order was made following our client's discovery ... that a copy of the forthcoming Harry Potter book ... had been obtained by unauthorised persons who had subsequently offered the book to newspaper journalists."

Spokesmen for The Sun and the Daily Mirror said both newspapers had been contacted by someone claiming to have copies of the book.

The newspapers said they planned to meet the man in Kettering, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of London, and contacted police -- who were waiting outside the meeting site and arrested the two suspects Friday.

The Sun said that when its reporter attempted to leave the meeting carrying the book, one of the suspects put a gun next to his head and fired a shot over the journalist's shoulder. The shooter said the gun was not real, but it made a loud bang when it went off, the newspaper reported.

The newspapers said one of the suspects worked at a distribution warehouse where copies of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" are being stored ahead of their release.

"It was very hard" to get around security, the Mirror quoted the man as saying. "The whole warehouse is on camera."

A Northamptonshire police spokesman said: "Two books were recovered and they are currently being held in secure circumstances as evidence."

Police said the two men had both been charged with weapons offences and with handling the stolen books.

Both were released on police bail until early next week when they will appear before magistrates in the county.

The 37-year-old man was charged with possession of an offensive weapon and with handling stolen property, police said.

The 19-year-old man was charged with theft and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

The sixth Harry Potter novel has sparked massive interest since Rowling revealed that a major character will be killed in the book.

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