A JEWELLER has described the ‘degrading’ experience of a police raid that saw more than £250,000 of his stock seized.
On April 6 last year police arrived at Ebony Jewellers, in South Street, with a warrant looking for suspected stolen goods.
Nearly a year on, every item has been returned and director Simon Tilley described the ‘pretty devastating’ impact of the raid on his staff.
“They couldn’t say what they were looking for. They took completely everything,” he said.
“They put it on a website and advertised on the radio.
“They invited people to come along and view everything and see if they wanted to look at everything.”
Police entered the shop at 8.30am on Saturday morning and by the afternoon the story was online.
“It was very degrading to have it on the internet,” he said.
“It was pictures of police cars outside the shop and lots of people were interested, wanting to know what was going on.
“It must have been a big effect on the business I think.”
He added: “The main thing is I would like to say a big thank-you to all the people of Chichester and all the surrounding areas for their kind words of support for Ebony Jewellers.”
The jeweller has been based in South Street since 1976 and between £250,000 and £500,000 of stock was taken, with Mr Tilley describing the raid as ‘heavy handed’.
Detective sergeant Jason Vickers said the enquiry at Ebony had concluded after an ‘extensive investigation’.
As well as jewellery, computers and invoices were taken. The detective sergeant said most of the jewellery was returned within ten weeks but some was kept for longer.
“We would like to thank the shop owner for his cooperation in helping us with the enquiry and he was kept fully updated throughout,” he said.
However, Mr Tilley disputed this, saying there had been a ‘lack of communication’.
“The more questions you ask, the more you cross examine them, the bigger the barrier gets. I’ve just gone along with them at times. It’s very hard when you know that there wasn’t anything,” he said, adding: “I’ve tried to keep my cool through the whole thing.”
Det sgt Vickers said Mr Tilley was part of Operation Reclaim, which was recently launched across the district, where around 40 second-hand jewellers were supporting police in stopping the sale of stolen goods.