Fraudster stole £4,999 ring and put a £30 cover-up ring in its place

Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A fraudster has narrowly escaped going to prison after he stole his ex’s £4,999 gold engagement ring and swapped it for a £30 ring in an attempt to cover-up his crime.

Shaun Thomas Cowell, 26, stole the engagement ring from his former partner’s Chesterfield home and replaced it with a replica before selling on the engagement ring to a cash broker’s for £300, according to a Chesterfield magistrates’ court hearing.

Prosecuting solicitor Sam Matkin told the hearing on September 14: “The victim bought her own engagement ring in 2016 but the relationship for which this ring had been bought ended and she placed the ring in a box at her home.

“She then began a relationship with this defendant and this ended and in June, this year, she got a price on her ring to sell it and was told it was of little value.

“She was surprised because she had paid nearly £5,000 and after a closer inspection it was discovered that it was not the same ring.”

Mr Matkin added that the victim scoured jewellery shops until she found the original engagement ring at a cash brokers at the Pavements shopping centre, in Chesterfield, and an investigation was launched.

Police were alerted and the defendant was arrested and he admitted stealing the engagement ring in January and selling it on to the cash brokers for £300 which he spent.

He also told police that he had left a replica ring valued at £30 in place of the original engagement ring.

Cowell said he was sorry and that he was willing to pay back any money owed.

The defendant, who has previous convictions, pleaded guilty to stealing the engagement ring and also admitted fraud by selling the ring in January.

Cowell, of Orchid Drive, Cotgrave, Nottingham, told the court: “I am very sorry. It was a time of my life when there was a lot of circumstances going on.

“My brother had died and from 2014 I have been holding down an apprenticeship as a brick layer.”

He added that it was a “stupid” thing to do.

Magistrates sentenced Cowell to 34 weeks of custody suspended for 12 months with 120 hours of unpaid work.

He must also pay a £115 victim surcharge, £85 costs and £300 compensation.