Off-duty Pc spotted 'stolen' necklace in shop window, trial hears

An off-duty police officer spotted a necklace believed to be stolen in a shop window after an investigation was launched into a missing £30,000 jewellery and ornaments haul.

Former cleaner Angela Evans is standing trial accused of two counts of theft, both of which she denies. She worked for the late William Sykes near Bishops Castle, and his daughter Angela Loder's family who lived nearby.

Evans, 55, from Bitterley, Ludlow, left her job after being confronted about missing items including a pair of silver candlesticks, a brooch worth £25,000, a diamond ring worth £3,000, a claret jug, a diamond pendant necklace and a silver fox.

Pc Matthew Price visited Mrs Loder when the items were first reported missing.

"She was reporting the theft or burglary of a number of items from herself and her late father," Pc Price told Shrewsbury Crown Court.

The next day, Pc Price was off duty, walking in Tenbury Wells town centre, when he spotted a diamond necklace of a similar description to the missing one in the window of JH Berry jewellery shop.

Pc Price said: "I went into the store and identified myself as a police officer, off duty, and that I suspected the necklace had come from a theft or burglary."

He told shop owner John Berry to take the item off the shelf. Other officers returned to the shop the next day, and Mr Berry told police that he had purchased the necklace and silver fox from Angela Evans.

Giving evidence in court, Mr Berry, who has been a goldsmith for 60 years and has had his Tenbury Wells shop for 40 years, said that at the time he would have known Evans for about six or seven years as a customer.

"She purchased items and sold items," he said.

"I would look at the items (she brought in for sale) and make her an offer."

Asked how he paid, Mr Berry said: "She wanted cash."

Earlier in the trial, Philip Vollans said that receipts handed over to the police from the store bear the signature of a 'Mrs Evans', and that handwriting experts said there was a "strong likelihood that both signatures came from one and the same person".

The trial continues.

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