CONSETT, England (AP) -- An eccentric British book dealer appeared in court Tuesday, charged with stealing a rare First Folio of Shakespeare's plays from a university library.

Self-described "dilettante" Raymond Scott, 51, arrived for the brief hearing in a chauffeur-driven silver stretch limo, dressed almost entirely in white and holding a cigar and an opened cup of instant noodles. He read aloud from Shakespeare's "Richard III" before entering the court.

Police say the 1623 Folio, one of the most important books in the English language, is worth about 3 million pounds ($4.5 million). It was among seven centuries-old books and manuscripts stolen from Durham University library in northern England in 1998.

The book was recovered after a man walked into the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. in June and asked for its authenticity to be checked. Library staff contacted police, who traced the man and arrested Scott.

Scott has previously denied theft and handling stolen goods, saying he bought the book in Cuba.

He did not enter a plea at Tuesday's hearing in Consett, 250 miles (400 kilometers) north of London. He was released on bail until his next hearing April 14.

Scott, who told Folger Library staff he was an "international businessman," complained about the slow pace of his case.

"Like Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, I have had to suffer not only the whips and scorns of time but also the law's delay," he told reporters outside court.