Chichester jeweller responds to police raid

Simon Tilley, director of Ebony Jewellers, which was raided by police at the weekend. Picture by Kate Shemilt C130503-4
Simon Tilley, director of Ebony Jewellers, which was raided by police at the weekend. Picture by Kate Shemilt C130503-4

A SHOP owner of 27 years has called a police search ‘disproportionate’, after they seized around £500,000 worth of jewellery from his Chichester store.

Police entered Ebony Jewellers, in South Street, on Saturday morning (April 6), looking for suspected stolen goods.

The store’s director, Simon Tilley, said afterwards: “They’ve cleared my shop out, all of my stock, invoices, computer records. It’s completely disproportionate as far as I’m concerned.”

He said a police van arrived around 8.30am and about 15 policemen came in with a search warrant.

Sussex Police has since said the entire stock of the shop was seized over the weekend.

The shop buys and sells second-hand jewellery, and also has an upstairs workshop where repairs are carried out.

It specialises in traditional jewellery, and Mr Tilley said this was what the shop had been doing for years.

In the current economic climate, he said the ratio of people selling jewellery as opposed to buying was as high as five to one.

“We’re the place to come to sell second-hand jewellery,” he said.

“Obviously a lot of people have been coming in selling things.”

He attended Chichester Police Station on Tuesday (April 9) to speak with officers who were taking part in the investigation.

He also wanted to reassure customers that jewellery in for repair had not been taken by the police.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Tilley said he was hopeful of getting some jewellery back for the shop before long, once it had been checked.

The shop was open as normal on Monday (April 8).

A police spokesman confirmed no arrests had been made as the Observer went to press on Wednesday, and said that all the items seized were being examined to establish where they had come from.