Police return £100k of jewels after four years

John and wife Moira in their Gorgie shop. Picture: Joey Kelly
John and wife Moira in their Gorgie shop. Picture: Joey Kelly
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A JEWELLER who had £100,000 worth of stock seized by police has had the haul returned following a four-year battle.

Officers swooped suspecting John Taylor, 46, was selling stolen loot at his Gorgie shop.

But – after he was cleared of reset – officers failed to return his expensive stock back, driving him to the brink of despair.

Last night, speaking of his relief at the shock Police Scotland decision to hand the watches and gems back, he said: “We had come up against a brick wall for years.”

We told in June how John and wife Moira were fighting to get Scotts Jewellers back on track. Their fight drew backing from several local petitions. Former chancellor Alistair Darling MP joined forces with MSP Marco Biagi to pressurise prosecutors and police to return the seized stock.

Mr Taylor said their fight with the police changed the instant “the politicians became involved”.

Their ordeal began in 2009 when John bought a Cartier watch as a present for his wife at a car boot sale. However, she did not like the timepiece and – like countless other people – slapped it up for sale on eBay along with a photo of its serial number to prove it was genuine.

Police – realising it was stolen – then raided the couple’s shop in September 2009, stripping the store of its contents.

In 2010, Mr Taylor was cleared of seven counts of reset, but requests for the haul to be returned ignored.

Mr Taylor added: “The police have had the receipts and invoices from the start of all this. We have pointed that out to them many times but have been ignored.”

His wife said their ordeal has been particularly galling, as a large number of personal items of jewellery were seized along with shop stock. She said: “The items included personal effects such as my ankle chain and John’s heavy bracelet.”

Mr Biagi hopes senior officers will “reflect” on how to stop it happening again. He said: “The huge disruption to the lives of this couple was based on unfounded suspicion.”

Mr Darling said: “I am glad all this has been resolved.”

A police spokesman said: “Following an intelligence-led search of a business premises on Gorgie Road in September 2009, officers seized a number of items of jewellery, which were believed to be stolen and a 42-year-old man was subsequently charged with alleged reset offences. Jewellery that could be identified as belonging to other individuals has since been returned to them and the outstanding items were retained under the Civil Government Act. After a recent review of documentation relating to the ownership of the remaining property, Police Scotland were satisfied to return these items to the store owner.

“This matter has now been concluded and no external influences were responsible for the return of these items.”

The Crown Office refused to comment.

david.oleary@edinburghnews.com