UK scrap dealer convicted in stolen jewels case

UK scrap dealer convicted in stolen jewels case

London scrap company co-owner found guilty of holding stolen diamonds.

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January 14, 2019

A co-owner of London City Metals Ltd. in the United Kingdom’s capital city has been found guilty of possession of stolen jewels worth several thousand dollars.

According to an online news item posted by the Surrey Live website, 55-year-old Charles “Chick” Matthews was found guilty Jan. 11 at Southwark Crown Court pertaining to diamonds found by detectives stashed in a ceiling at London City Metals in August 2015.

Matthews could face jail time after being found guilty of handling stolen goods relative to 50 diamonds valued at about £48,750 ($62,800), plus emerald earrings estimated at £31,500 ($40,110) in value and a sapphire-, ruby- and diamond-encrusted bracelet valued at £8,750 ($11,160).

A jury guided by Judge Joanna Korner will consider sentencing Friday, Jan. 18, according to the Surrey Live report.

According to that same report, Matthews had claimed the jewelry was given to him by a frien, and he was unaware that it had been stolen. Matthews also claimed he put the jewels in his ceiling after his safe malfunctioned and that he did not repair the safe since the 2013 Scrap Metal Dealers Act had rendered his business largely cashless.

Prosecutors noted that police also found what they called a “diamond examining kit” on the London City Metals premises, which Matthews said belonged to his father.

The Matthews family has been in the scrap metal business since the 1950s, according to Surrey Live, with the company currently being managed by Charles Matthews and his brother and son. The firm has sales of between £10 million and £12 million annually and has about 35 employees, according to Matthews.

Matthews has a prior conviction in November 2017 of “racially aggravated common assault and beating,” for which he received a suspended jail sentence and community service work. For the jewelry-related conviction, Matthews is out on bail until his sentencing with curfew and reporting requirements.