AN antiques dealer accused of stealing a £3m first edition of Shakespeare’s works from a university wants his trial moved to London’s Old Bailey.

Lawyers for Raymond Scott, who strenuously denies stealing the 380-year-old First Folio, will argue that the publicity his case has attracted means he will not get a fair hearing in the North-East.

The Shakespeare First Folio was stolen from Durham University in December 1998.

Last summer, Mr Scott hit the headlines after he presented a volume of the Bard’s work to the Folger Shakespeare Library, in the US capital, Washington. He says this was a different book.

Mr Scott consistently cuts a colourful figure, donning a range of outfits during public appearances.

He is due to answer charges at Consett Magistrates’ Court, in County Durham, today and has pledged to arrive dressed as Boss Hogg from the Eighties TV series The Dukes of Hazzard, which was turned into a film in 2005.

Mr Scott said: “Given the snow, the theme will be white.

I’ll be arriving in a white limousine and my outfit will be white.”

But the 51-year-old insisted he would still have his trademark Pot Noodle in hand.

Mr Scott, of Wingate, County Durham, faces one charge of theft and three of handling stolen goods.

He said: “My lawyers believe it would be impossible to get a jury in Newcastle or Durham and my legal team want it moved to the Old Bailey, or one of the London crown courts.

“I’m advised it would be in my interests to have it moved – that it would be very difficult to get a jury that hasn’t been saturated in the news coverage.

“I don’t think it (the case) will go very far. Fair England, justice for all and all that sort of thing, but it’s just not cricket.”

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: “We have no plans at this stage to request that the case is heard anywhere other than in the North-East.

“Should Mr Scott’s legal team make a representation that it should be heard elsewhere, then we will respond.”