Theft victims saw jeweller wearing stolen ring, court told

James Ness and Sons, in Queensferry St. File picture: Google

James Ness and Sons, in Queensferry St. File picture: Google

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THE victims of a £70,000 jewel theft started their own hunt to find their missing treasures – and were left stunned when they walked into a shop and found an employee wearing one of their stolen rings, a court heard.

Mark McGrorty and Brian Richardson are facing jail after they admitted selling jewellery taken in a raid on a £2 million country house in Fife.

Jewellery, valued at £70,000 by its owners for insurance purposes, was taken from a safe at Lochiehead House, Aucthermuchty, between July 25 and July 28, 2014.

That December, a jeweller in Edinburgh contacted police because he believed some jewellery he had recently bought may have been stolen.

It then emerged that Richardson had walked into the Joseph Bonnar Jewellers store in Thistle Street and sold a pair of opal earrings, a necklace and two aquamarine earrings for a total of £1400. The bungling crook did so in full view of CCTV – and even provided his own full name and address.

The victims of the theft were informed of the discovery by police – and decided to visit Edinburgh to see if they could find any more stolen goods.

Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told Dundee Sheriff Court that they went to James Ness and Sons in Queensferry Street.

She said: “They told staff about the break-in and described the items and staff immediately went quiet.

“The proprietor then entered wearing one of the rings that was missing.

“He denied having any of the stolen goods but the owners saw a pair of earrings in a cabinet that they believed were theirs. Police were able to obtain the items.”

McGrorty, 38, of Kildownie Crescent, Ballingry, Fife, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of resetting a quantity of jewellery that had been dishonestly appropriated by theft.

Richardson, 27, of Main Street, Crosshill, Fife, pleaded guilty to resetting jewellery at two jewellery shops in Edinburgh on December 10 and 12, 2014.

The court heard two other men, both currently serving lengthy jail sentences for robberies committed in January last year, had been incriminated in the crime.

Sheriff Alistair Carmichael deferred sentence until next month for social work background reports and released the pair on bail meantime.

A spokesman for James Ness and Sons told the News that they had gone through all the proper processes when they accepted the jewellery, and had then contacted police when approached by the victims.

Joseph Bonnar Jewellers declined to comment.

newsen@edinburghnews.com