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British tourist in court over Australian pink diamond theft

Large pink diamond Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police believe the thief swallowed the pink diamond, similar to the one pictured after it was stolen

A British tourist has appeared in court in Australia charged with the theft of a rare pink diamond worth £135,000.

Matthew Osborne, 29, appeared before magistrates in Cairns, Queensland, the Cairns Post reported. Police believe after taking the gem, he swallowed it.

He was arrested at Melbourne airport on Thursday as he prepared to board a flight to New Zealand.

Police said the 0.31 carat Argyle stone - 4.3mm in diameter - was still missing following the theft last Saturday.

Detectives carried out an X-ray on Mr Osborne, but the results were inconclusive.

Following his arrest in Melbourne, Mr Osborne was flown to Cairns with a police escort.

CCTV of the theft at a shop in Cairns showed a customer fleeing with the diamond moments after being shown it by a shop assistant.

Police said the thief escaped on a bicycle.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are aware of reports that a British national was arrested at Melbourne airport on Thursday.

"We have been in contact with the local authorities and offered to provide consular assistance."

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