A Suffolk-based jewellery dealer with over 30 years experience in the trade faces ruin after falling victim to a sophisticated robbery last month.
The dealer's entire stock of more than 2000 items of antique and second-hand silver, gold, precious and hardstone jewellery with a value of more than £120,000 was taken from her home in the early hours of the morning of Monday, June 17.
The dealer and her husband, who wish to remain anonymous, had returned from a fair at Dorking Halls, Surrey on the evening of Sunday, June 16 leaving the holdalls of stock stored in the ground floor of their cottage. As they slept upstairs from 2am, with alarm set and windows and doors locked, professional thieves removed the bolt from a gate secured by two heavy duty padlocks and proceeded to bypass the alarm system by carefully drilling six holes behind each of the locks securing casement windows.
Local police were surprised by the level of sophistication used in the theft and deemed it fortunate that the victims had not confronted the perpetrators when noise was heard outside around 3am.
While CCTV footage taken on the M25 did not indicate the dealer had been followed home from Dorking, police have suggested the couple had been "pinpointed" and probably been watched for months as a potential target.
It is the latest in a worrying number of professional - and occasionally brutal - thefts from the jewellery trade that police believe are the work of organised crime working from a "hit list".
Speaking to ATG, the dealer expressed her gratitude to the many fellow dealers "for their unbelievable kindness, love and support" following the robbery.
Anyone with information should contact P.C. John Frith or D.C Craig Brett of the Bury St Edmunds Central team quoting crime reference number is SU/13/1191.
Among the more distinctive pieces stolen were:
- A 19th century yellow gold ring with a brown/black/white carved hardstone monkey head inset with gold teeth and ruby eyes.
- A large Art Deco black onyx ring set in platinum with three inset diamonds (an old lead solder repair and a split visible in the platinum shank).
- A 9ct yellow gold double headed snake collar/necklace, each head inset with rubies, hallmarked 1977.
- A pink tourmaline ring with large tear-drop shaped stone and yellow 22ct matt gold shank signed RAM.
- More than 30 Edwardian 9ct and 15ct yellow gold pendants, inset with amethysts and seed pearls, opals, peridot and seed pearls.
- An Art Deco platinum and diamond wide 'line' bracelet, each individual square inset with four diamonds - approx 7cts diamonds in total.
- A large oval claw set (slightly raised) aquamarine and diamond white gold ring.
- A Cartier (Spain) white and yellow gold band inset with central diamond.
- A large silver cockatoo brooch inset with rose cut diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds.
- An early 19th century emerald ring surrounded by rose cut diamonds on a yellow gold shank of small finger size).
- A large pale aquamarine ring set with tiny seed pearls inset into the yellow gold shank) one pearl now missing).
- A large agate intaglio in a 9ct gold mount of woman in flowing dress with motto.