Europe

Spanish police retrieve diamond swallowed by thief

Diamond retrieved by Spanish police
Image caption The diamond pendant was irretrievable for three days

Spanish police have foiled an attempted robbery from a British woman, after discovering a stolen diamond inside a man's stomach.

The woman's handbag - which contained cash and a diamond pendant worth 12,000 euros (£10,500) - was taken as she dined in a restaurant in Marbella.

The suspects were caught four hours later with most of the loot.

But it took three days to retrieve the most valuable item, the diamond, after one of the men swallowed it.

The woman had been sitting in the Marbella restaurant with a friend when two smartly dressed men entered - one of the men taking the table behind the women.

Some time later the women realised that both men had disappeared along with the handbag, which contained 2,000 euros and £500 in cash as well as the diamond and other valuables.

At 18:00 the same day police were conducting a routine vehicle check about 50km (30 miles) up the coast in Torremolinos when they spotted four men, known to have criminal records for robbery.

Their suspicions raised, they inspected the vehicle and discovered jewellery and a woman's purse containing British currency and ID documents.

But it was the sight of a suspect raising his hand to his mouth that drew the attention of one sharp-eyed officer. He guessed the man was swallowing some of the evidence.

All four suspected thieves were promptly taken to a local clinic, where X-rays revealed a diamond, minus the chain it once hung from, inside one of their stomachs.

The British woman was reunited with most of her possessions that same evening. But she only received the precious jewel three days later.

According to police spokeswoman Ana Moreno in Torremolinos: "It was retrieved in the simplest and most natural way."