A lost library book has been returned after being found more than 6,000 miles away in Mauritius.

The Fifth Elephant, by Terry Pratchett, went missing after it was borrowed five years ago from the free book shelf, run by Cheam Library, at Cheam Station.

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Mauritius is an Indian Ocean island, 2,000 km off the southeast coast of Africa. Map: Google

But the book, thought to be lost forever, was spotted by a keen-eyed holiday-maker in a hotel this year who brought it back to the UK so it could be posted back to its rightful home.

The book was placed back on the station shelf in mid-November - and is available once again for the public to read after its extended holiday in the sun.

Hannah Bell, one of the managers of Cheam Library, said: "Someone had borrowed it from the train station.

"It was dropped off and there was just a note saying it had been found abroad - it had the station sticker on.

"They (the person who returned the book) really are a good Samaritan. I don’t think it showed up on our system but just showed up as ‘lost’ as it was gone for such a long time. It must have been over five years.

"Nothing like this has happened before. It is now back where it belongs - back in the waiting area. It has got pride of place.

"The lady who runs the book shelf wanted to thank the good Samaritan."

The book is the 24th Discworld novel by Pratchett which tell tales of comical fantasy with a slightly philosophical twist.

Cheam Library donates books to the shelf when their quality has declined too much for library use.

Sutton's globetrotting books

The incident is not the first time a library book from the borough has been returned after years missing abroad.

In 2011 a rare book was returned to Wallington library after more than 30 years of globe trotting with a former Australian naval commander.

Former Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant Commander Ron Robb borrowed the book from Wallington Library in Sutton in 1981.

The volume of Samuel Pepys' Diary then accompanied him to Hong Kong before ending up in Australia.

He later found the lost book while moving house and posted it from the other side of the world to the grateful library - who waived an estimated £1,600 late charge.