JK Rowling has appealed for fans not to buy a Harry Potter prequel she handwrote on a postcard after it was stolen during a burglary in Birmingham.

The author penned the short, 800-word manuscript on both sides of a large card for a charity auction nine years ago and it went on to sell for £25,000 at an auction held for the charity PEN, which aims to promote ‘the freedom to write and read.’

The prequel outline is said to be set three years before Harry Potter's birth and features his father, James Potter, and godfather Sirius Black, as free-spirited teenagers.

The manuscript was stolen during the break-in last April but on Friday police issued a fresh plea for information in the hope that "the appeal goes far and wide among Harry Potter fans throughout the world".

Responding to news of the theft, Rowling retweeted a message issued by the police.

The burglary victim has said it took a while for the "shock" to set in after he found out that the postcard had been taken.

He said the work was "priceless" and if it was sold again legitimately it could raise more money for charity.

However, he added that he is afraid the thieves may have sold it on for "pocket change" or were unaware of its value and destroyed it or threw it away.

On Thursday, the author made an appeal of a different kind when she urged people to be on the look out for a missing laptop belonging to a PhD student at NUI Maynooth.