An untitled prequel to the Harry Potter series handwritten on a postcard by author J K Rowling has been stolen in a burglary at a Birmingham home. The 800-word story had sold for 25,000 pounds at a charity auction at Sotheby’s in 2008. The postcard was stolen with some jewellery from a property in the Kings Heath area of the city during a break-in between April 13 and 24.

West Midlands Police issued a plea for information in the hope that “the appeal goes far and wide among Harry Potter fans throughout the world.”

Reacting on this news a local police constable Paul Jauncey said: “The only people who will buy this unique piece are true Harry Potter fans. We are appealing to anyone who sees, or is offered this item for sale, to contact police.”

Rowling tweeted her own plea: “PLEASE DON’T BUY THIS IF YOU’RE OFFERED IT. Originally auctioned for @englishpen, the owner supported writers’ freedoms by bidding for it.”

The prequel was among several works donated by authors to a charity auction held to raise funds for English PEN, which promotes understanding through literature, and Dyslexia Action.

Reportedly set three years before Harry Potter’s birth, the prequel features the schoolboy wizard’s father, James Potter, and godfather Sirius Black when they were teenagers.