Dad of two sold off stolen watch belonging to 88-year-old woman

·3-min read
Paul Jones in grey outside Swindon Magistrates' Court on a previous occasion.
Paul Jones in grey outside Swindon Magistrates' Court on a previous occasion.

A forklift truck driver “turned a blind eye” when he sold off a gold watch that had been burgled just days earlier.

The watch, described as priceless, was taken from a house on St Philips Road, Stratton, on January 29.

Its owner, an 88-year-old woman, said that it was given to her as a birthday present by her late mother for her 21st birthday, that it belonged to her mother beforehand, and was first purchased in the 1950s.

Swindon Crown Court heard on Wednesday (June 29) that John Jones, known as Paul, was offered the watch and “turned a blind eye to what was probably quite obvious, it was stolen goods”.

Later on the day of the burglary, Jones had travelled to Birmingham and sold the watch to a pawn shop.

Jones was jailed for 20 months by Judge James Townsend, who condemned the 46-year-old, saying: “People like you who act as handlers encourage this type of burglary, and the fact that you might not have known any of the details at all is little mitigation.”

Setting out the case, prosecutor Ieuan Callaghan had earlier told the court that a number of items were taken from the victim’s house, including the watch.

Jones was initially charged with three burglaries and one attempted burglary that happened on January 29 in Swindon, which he denied, before the CPS dropped those charges.

Jones, of Sheppard Street, then pleaded guilty to one count of handling stolen goods, relating to the watch.

Mr Callaghan went on to say that the defendant was arrested on February 2, and photos of the wash, some cash and coach tickets to Birmingham were found.

“The police made enquiries with a pawn shop in Birmingham and it transpired that the defendant had sold gold there on January 29 to the value of £1,200.

“The prosecution can’t say that it was the watch that was sold on this date.”

The victim said it was “impossible to put a value on the watch”, and that it had “sentimental value”>

Mr Callaghan told the court that Jones has 39 convictions for 117 offences – including 42 “theft and kindred offences” and multiple burglaries.

Mitigating, Paul Webb said: “Mr Jones realises that these are not the sort of matters the court takes lightly, nevertheless I seek to persuade you to exercise as much leniency as I can.”

He said that his client was recently released from prison at the time of the offence, and had made “significant process”.

“He is a man in his mid-40s, if he doesn’t change his ways now he never will.”

Mr Webb said that Jones had reintegrated himself with his family, and rebuilt a relationship with his two children.

“He expresses remorse through me, with the benefit of hindsight it was extremely foolish given his ambition to change his ways.

“The prospects are looking comparatively good for him.”

Sentencing, Judge Townsend deemed the sentence should be higher because of his previous convictions.

“The victims were an elderly couple and the item which eventually came into your possession was a watch of very clear sentimental value to the lady,” he said.

Judge Townsend jailed Jones for 20 months, adding: “Given your record there are no grounds for suspending that sentence.”

73 days that Jones has spent on a curfew since his initial court appearance in February will be taken off his sentence.

He must also pay £178.35 – the money he had on him when police arrested him – to the victim.

“That’s not very much for her but it’s all that’s available,” Judge Townsend remarked.