When Lady Somerleyton lost a valuable family heirloom during trip to Morrisons she hoped a fellow shopper might have the heart to hand it in.
But with 10 days having passed since the gold, diamond and emerald Art Deco pendant went missing there seems slim chance of it being returned.
Indeed, according to security staff at the supermarket, Lady Somerleyton’s precious keepsake has in all likelihood been sold for “drug money” by one of the area’s ne’er-do-wells.
So far nobody has reported finding the item, which was lost after Lady Somerleyton dropped into the Lowerstoft branch of Morrisons, despite a cash reward being on offer.
The pendant is worth several thousand pounds and there are those who might see it as an opportunity to make some easy money. Contemporary ones are on sale at jewellers for £4,000 and antique versions, such as Lady Somerleyton’s might fetch even more.
A store security source at Morrisons said: “To be honest if it’s not been found and handed in by now it means some toerag has picked it up and is going to try and sell it on for drug money.
“I’m afraid we have got a bit of a problem round here with druggies shoplifting and thieving and if they reckon it’s of value they’ll try and make something out of it. “Obviously that’s upsetting for Lady S, because I’m sure it’s of sentimental value to the family, but I’m afraid that’s the way it is now.”
Staff at the supermarket, a 20 minute drive from the family seat of Lady Somerleyton’s husband, Hugh Crossley, 4th Baron Somerleyton, scoured the aisles and shelving for the pendant after it was reported lost.
The source added: “We reviewed our CCTV footage as soon as Lady Somerleyton reported the item missing. We keep the footage for 24 hours so we were able to track her movements through the store as much as we could, but it was impossible to see if or where a pendant fell off her.”
There was sympathy yesterday for Lady Somerleyton at the Morrisons branch, where a ‘lost’ poster is displayed with a photograph of the pendant, although some wondered quite why she would risk wearing such a valuable piece of jewellery on a shopping trip.
Hayley Meades, 33, a mother of two from Lowerstoft, said: “I’m surprised she shops here. I wouldn’t want to wear an expensive bit of jewellery to the shops, though my stuff is more on the cheap side I have to say.
“Good luck to her getting it back. Since there’s a reward I’ll keep an eye out.”
Eve Hare, a pensioner, said: “If it was worth all that money why did she come out with it? The poor thing must have forgotten she had it on in the rush. We all do it. I hope she finds it.”
Lady Somerleyton, formerly Lara Bailey, realised she was no longer wearing the pendant, which was attached to an 18 inch long trace link chain, at around 5pm on the afternoon of Monday, October 9, shortly after picking up her children from school and visiting the supermarket before returning to Somerleyton House, the family’s Grade II listed 19th century country mansion near the north Suffolk coast.
As a child Lord Somerleyton served as second page of honour to the Queen on state occasions and his title dates back to 1916, when it was created for Savile Crossley, 1st Baron Somerleyton, a Liberal Unionist politician who served as Paymaster General from 1902 to 1905.
A family friend said: “Lady Somerleyton is very upset at losing the pendant. It was a family heirloom of great sentimental value to her
and her husband and she hopes that if someone finds it that they hand it in. She would be very grateful if it was returned.”
Anyone who finds the pendant, or knows its whereabouts, is urged to contact the Somerleyton Estate on 01502734901.