Tayside and Central Scotland

Watchmaker who stole items worth £130,000 to serve time

A watchmaker has been jailed after stealing items worth more than £130,000 from his customers before selling many of them at a pawnbroker.

Kevin Mitchell ran a watch repair shop in Dundee city centre, but ran into money problems after falling ill.

The 50-year-old, of Newport in Fife, sold on watches and jewellery worth £79,520 at a high street pawnbroker, and stole a further 31 watches including many made by designer labels.

He was jailed for 34 months.

Fiscal depute Douglas Wiseman told Dundee Sheriff Court that the thefts were carried out in virtually the same manner each time at Mitchell's shop on Crichton Street.

He said: "In the first charge the accused was asked to repair a Seiko watch in 2011.

"He said it wouldn't be a problem and that it would take a couple of weeks and cost £40.

"Time passed and the complainer didn't get the watch back with the accused making excuses that he hadn't got parts.

"This went on for months until the complainer eventually found the shop premises had been vacated and all stock removed.

"There was no recovery of the watch."

'Severe ill health'

Mr Wiseman said this pattern was repeated between July 2011 and May 2013 with watches by makes including Rolex, Cartier and Accurist.

Mitchell pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud and 31 charges of theft.

His defence agent, Ian Houston, told Dundee Sheriff Court that his client was suffering from "severe ill health" and was "preparing himself for the worst".

Jailing Mitchell for 34 months, Sheriff Ian Anderson said: "This was an offence committed over an extended period of time and represented a very large number of individual acts of dishonesty.

"You pawned property to the value of £80,000, while £50,000 worth of property has gone and has not been recovered.

"Some may have been trinkets but others would have been family treasures - items of considerable actual or sentimental value."

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