Man jailed for stealing rings from Diss jewellers

PUBLISHED: 16:03 11 July 2018

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A thief posed as a customer looking for the perfect engagement ring before stealing the whole tray worth £25,000 from a Diss jewellers and making his getaway on a mountain bike, a court was told.

Phillip Ellis, 38, went to the Jewellery Workshop, on Market Place, Diss, just after opening time on September 9, last year pretending to look for an engagement ring for his partner.

He then claimed he wanted time to think, before returning again at lunchtime to steal the rings telling a shocked member of staff he was going to take the whole tray, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Oliver Haswell, prosecuting, said before the theft, Ellis tried to distract staff by asking for a special box for the ring and claimed to be looking for a specific design for his partner.

Mr Haswell said staff were able to give a good description of Ellis and he was also caught on the security camera at the store.

Ellis later handed himself into police and said he stole the rings to pay a drugs debt. None of the rings were ever recovered.

In an impact statement the shop said the rings and the special display tray meant losses were more than £28,000.

Ellis, from Birmingham, admitted the theft and also dangerous driving on June 11, 2016, in Gainsborough Avenue, Diss.

Jailing him for 15 months Judge Anthony Bate said he had a long history of dishonesty, often carried out because of his drug addiction.

He said the shop theft had taken planning and had not been just a swift raid but he had tried to gain the confidence of staff.

“You embellished the fiction with a number of lies,” he said. “The theft was a substantial loss to a small firm. They are a long-standing business in a small town.”

He also imposed a two and half year driving ban on Ellis, as it was his third dangerous driving offence and ordered him to take an extended driving test before getting back behind the wheel.

James Hay, for Ellis, said he carried out the theft to repay a drugs debt: “He was fearful of the consequences if he did not pay the drugs debt.

He said that Ellis had been seeking help for his drugs problem and was a different person to the one who committed the offences.

“He has now been clean for three months.”

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