A RARE copy of a literary classic was found in a bag of donations by a shocked charity shop manager – who hopes to sell the item for £250.

Janet Gilbert, who manages Oxfam's bookshop on Broad Street in Hereford, was surprised to find Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird in its first English hardback edition among donations left over the weekend.

Set in Alabama during the great depression and narrated by the main character – a little girl named Jean Louise "Scout" Finch – the novel is widely used as a secondary school resource for GCSE English literature.

And just earlier this week it was released as an e-book after five decades.

But Mrs Gilbert hopes that the rare edition will fetch around £250, after discovering another copy sold at auction for £400.

It was donated along with a rare Victorian book on butterflies and moths.

"We have had a number of high quality donations of late," she said.

"We were sorting through and when I came across the book I couldn't believe what I was looking at. I held my breath and opened it in trepidation".

As she had hoped, the book was a 1961 first English edition in hardback – a real treasure.

And though tempted to buy it for herself, Mrs Gilbert is now keeping it safely stored in the shop until a new owner comes forward.