Fife man avoids jail term after selling stolen jewellery

Gunn, Stewart and Williamson all denied a charge of behaving in a threatening and abusive manner at Dundee Sheriff Court on Monday
Gunn, Stewart and Williamson all denied a charge of behaving in a threatening and abusive manner at Dundee Sheriff Court on Monday

A crook who was snared for his part in a £70,000 jewellery theft when he walked into a jeweller’s shop to sell the loot and gave them his full name and address today (Friday) dodged a jail term.

Brian Richardson and Mark McGrorty admitted selling jewellery taken in a raid on a £2 million country house in Auchtermuchty.

Jewellery, valued at £70,000 by its owners for insurance purposes, was taken from a safe at the property at some point between July 25 and 28, 2014.

The plot unravelled when the true owners, desperate to be reunited with the stolen jewels, walked in to an Edinburgh jewellery shop and found the owner wearing one of their stolen rings.

But despite the high value of the crime Richardson today (Friday) avoided a jail term - days after McGrorty was handed a nine-month prison sentence for his part.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard that in December 2014 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 Jeweller’s store in Edinburgh’s Thistle Street and sold a pair of Opal earrings, a necklance and two aquamarine earrings for a total of £1400.

The crook did so in full view of CCTV - and even provided his own full name and address to the shop’s properietor as he carried out his scheme.

The victims of the theft were informed of the discovery by cops - and decided to visit other jewellers’ shops to see if they could find any more stolen goods.

Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told the court that they then went to James Ness and Sons in the capital’s 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.

“On August 27, 2014 accused McGrorty had attended and was paid £4000 via bank transfer for a yellow diamond ring.

“In total the items taken were valued at as much as £70,000 for insurance purposes.

“There is a high value of jewellery still outstanding as a result of this.

“The Crown calls on the accused to disclose where they are or who is responsible for the break in for further investigation.”

McGrorty (38), of Kildownie Crescent, Ballingry, 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, pleaded guilty to resetting jewellery at two jewellery shops in Edinburgh on December 10 and 12, 2014.

McGrorty had faced a charge of being responsible for the break in and theft of the items from the house, but instead admitted the charge of resetting the stolen goods.

Christopher Sneddon, defending Richardson, said: “The retail value of the items Mr Richardson reset was approximately three times what he received for them.

“He accepts that while he was not told the items were stolen, from the facts and circumstances of the passing of the items to him should have made it very obvious that they were stolen and he accepts that.

“He committed the offence for financial reward.”

Sheriff Alistair Carmichael imposed a restriction of liberty order, electronically tagging Richardson him and confining him to his home address from 7pm til 7am daily for seven months.

He also imposed a community payback order with 160 hours’ unpaid work.

On Monday the same sheriff jailed McGrorty for 41 weeks.