Kent

Kent Police 'loses' £38k of Sittingbourne jeweller's stock

Jill Archer in her jewellery shop in Ashford Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Jill Archer asked police to fingerprint items of jewellery after some pieces had gone missing from the safe

A jeweller is considering legal action against Kent Police after the force admitted it had lost jewellery worth £38,000 from her Sittingbourne shop.

Jill Archer said officers took away gold bracelets, chains and earrings for forensic tests in November 2013 when she suspected stock was being stolen.

She has complained to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and will meet Kent Police on Friday.

The force said it had taken responsibility for the loss.

Kent Police said a financial claim for the loss from its Sittingbourne station store was being dealt with by its insurers and compensation would be paid after Ms Archer provided documentation confirming the value of items lost.

But she claims her Sittingbourne shop has since had to close due to the lack of stock, and claimed her losses had reached £125,000.

She also said although she was insured, her insurers would only pay out £10,000 because the jewellery had been taken out of the shop.

She continues to runs her business from her other shop in Ashford.

Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Jill Archer said losing the stock had meant she was forced to close down her shop in Sittingbourne

'Fobbed off'

In 2013, Ms Archer requested police fingerprint the jewellery after she noticed items were missing from the shop's safe and suspected a member of staff.

Officers took 70 packets of jewellery to the secure unit at Sittingbourne police station on 23 November of that year.

However, according to the force's investigative report, they were not booked in until three days later.

When Ms Archer asked for the items back a few weeks later she was told they were being retained as evidence.

She was "totally shocked" when police told her on 28 January 2014 that they could not find the items, and since then had felt "fobbed off" in subsequent dealings with the force.

In a statement, Kent Police said no other items had gone missing from the property store in the same time period.

It added that it had undertaken "a thorough review of the security measures" in its property stores across the county.

Kent Police said there had been no prosecutions in connection with the case.

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