Thieving painter stole Edinburgh customers' £15,000 diamond ring

A CROOKED painter who stole a £15,000 diamond ring from a home he was decorating has been ordered to pay his victim compensation.

By Alexander Lawrie
Thursday, 26th November 2020, 5:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th November 2020, 5:18 pm
Thief: Heafey
Thief: Heafey

Paul Heafey, 56, swiped the engagement ring from the house in Edinburgh after being left the keys to let himself in and out.

Heafey - a self-confessed gambling addict - then pawned the expensive sparkler for just £1700 at a local pawnbrokers.

The tradesman pleaded guilty to stealing the ring while he worked at a home in the Newington area of the city in November last year during a court appearance last month.

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Heafey was missing from the dock at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday (THUR) as he has recently been tested for Covid 19 and does not have the results back yet.

Sheriff Adrian Cottam sentenced him in his absence said the painter had clearly caused his victim “panic and distress” by stealing the sentimental piece of jewellery.

He added: “You let somebody in the house and you trust them. It’s not just an object but it is a particular item.

“But I am happy to accept the explanation it was committed in the middle of his gambling addiction and it was a one-off.”

Heafey, from Saughton, Edinburgh, was told he must pay his victim £300 compensation along with a further £1700 to be paid back to the pawnbroker.

Previously the court heard the thief stole the ring on November 11 last year and that he then went back to the home the following day to finish off the painting job.

Fiscal depute Miriam Clark said the homeowner had initially believed she had mislaid the ring but later called in the police after realising it was missing.

The court was told Heafey was subsequently caught on CCTV pawning the pricey ring for just a fraction of its worth at a branch of H&T Pawnbrokers. The ring was later recovered.

Lawyer Joe Boyd, defending, said his client was absent from court due to a work colleague testing positive for Covid 19 and Heafey was still awaiting his own test result.

He also said that Heafey had been a gambling addict “since his “late teens” and he has been attending Gambling Anonymous over the past year.

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