VALLETTA, Malta (Reuters) - A former British Royal Air Force employee has returned a history book to the Malta public library 42 years after he borrowed it and was given a cup of coffee instead of a fine.

Ernie Roscouet, a resident of the Channel Islands, inadvertently packed the book when he left Malta in June 1962 and returned it when his wife gave him a holiday to Malta as his 65th birthday present.

"It's actually been on my conscience all this time," he told the Times of Malta newspaper.

Although he expected a fine he was given a cup of coffee instead.