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 jeweller’s shop and found the owner wearing one of their stolen rings.
Mark McGrorty and Brian Richardson are facing jail terms 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 a property in Auchtermuchty, at some point between July 25 and 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 Jeweller’s store in Edinburgh’s 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 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 Dundee Sheriff 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, Crosshil, 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.
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.
Christopher Sneddon, defending, said: “The retail value of the items Mr Richardson reset was approximately three times what he received for them.”
Sheriff Alistair Carmichael deferred sentence until next month for social work background reports and released the pair on bail meantime.