Jewel thief avoids jail

A JEWELLERY thief stole thousands of pounds worth of family heirlooms and sold them to an Ipswich pawn broker.Ipswich Crown Court heard that Josa Alves sold £7,500 worth of Indian gold jewellery to The Money Shop for £3,555 and used the money to pay his drug debt.

A JEWELLERY thief stole thousands of pounds worth of family heirlooms and sold them to an Ipswich pawn broker.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Josa Alves sold £7,500 worth of Indian gold jewellery to The Money Shop for £3,555 and used the money to pay his drug debt.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting said Alves had gone to visit Sukhwinder and Kalash Singh on several occasions with his girlfriend Jane Cooper who was their family friend.

Mr Crimp said: “He knew where Mrs Singh kept her jewellery, he had seen her put it away and had asked her if it was genuine gold.”


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He said Mrs Singh kept the family heirlooms in a bedside cabinet.

He added that as well as being of monetary value the gold held “great sentimental and cultural value” as it had been handed down through her family.

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The court heard that Mrs Cooper heard the jewellery had been stolen, she then found a pawn ticket in Alves' belongings and contacted the police.

Mr Crimp said the ticket had nothing to do with the jewels but it led police to The Money Shop where Mrs Singh's gold was recovered and returned leaving the shop out of pocket.

Alves, 22, of Wherstead Road, Ipswich, initially said Mrs Singh's son had given him the jewellery after he told him he owed £7,000 to a drug dealer who said he would kill him if he did not pay up.

However Alves pleaded guilty to theft and to committing fraud in October last year.

Jude Durr, mitigating, said his Portuguese client had been living in England for more than a year but had not found work so did not have the means to pay compensation.

He added that Alves was hoping to become a security doorman and was still living with Mrs Cooper who was still welcome at the Singhs although Alves was not.

Mr Durr said: “He has expressed some regret and remorse.”

He said Alves had no previous convictions but had spent three months in custody on remand.

Mr Recorder Nichols Hamblen QC said Alves' behaviour was “a breach of trust and friendship”.

He sentenced Alves to nine months in prison but the term was suspended for 18 months.

Alves was ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work for the community.

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