SENTIMENTAL jewellery worth thousands of pounds was melted down for cash after being stolen by a teenage girl with a cannabis habit.
The girl’s grandmother took the girl, aged 17, with her to work to help her clean at people’s houses.
But it emerged the girl had stolen hundreds of pounds worth of jewellery, some of it highly sentimental.
A youth court at Mold heard how it had been sold at a Cash for Gold outlet.
When attempts were later made to recover it, it was found it had been sent on for recycling and melted down.
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted three charges of thefts in April and May of this year, and possessing cannabis, a class B drug.
Magistrates sitting at a youth court in Mold adjourned sentence for reports, but warned the girl that all options including custody would remain open.
The thefts took place at houses in the Ewloe, Northop Hall and Eryrys area.
Wyn Jones, prosecuting, told how on May 9 police were contacted by one of the victims who said jewellery was missing from her home address.
Two weeks later the victim said her cleaner had been in touch and her grand-daughter, who had helped her on previous occasions, had admitted stealing a pair of gold and diamond ear-rings, a gold chain, a Pandora bracelet and charms and an opal and diamond gold ring.
The victim received a letter of apology from the girl, confessing to what she had done, and the Pandora bracelet had been returned.
But the opal and diamond ring, which had belonged to the victim’s grandmother, remained outstanding and that alone was valued at £1,445.
Arrested and interviewed, she was in possession of cannabis. She admitted having a cannabis habit and said she was stealing to fund that habit.
Another client of her grandmother then contacted police and told how a gold and diamond eternity ring and a gold wedding ring had disappeared from her home.
The eternity ring had been given to her by her dead husband and the wedding ring had been her mother’s.
Apart from the great sentimental value, they were of great monetary value – to the tune of £2,400.
She had spoken to her cleaner and the girl had admitted responsibility.
Further interviewed, she made full admissions and also conceded she had committed two other thefts.
She had taken cash from one man but he did not wish to make a complaint.
The defendant admitted taking a gold and diamond engagement ring and a gold signet ring worth £1,900 from another house where her grandmother cleaned.
Police contacted that person, who at that stage was unaware of the theft, but when she checked she realised the items were missing.
One of the rings had been passed down to her from her grandmother.
Philip Marshall-Thomas, defending, said the defendant was a young woman of no previous convictions who was deeply upset at what she had done.
Her grandmother had contacted all the clients where she had taken the defendant and asked them to check their property.
It was a breach of trust, she had done it to get money for cannabis, but her only gain had been £200.
She had passed the items to a member of her family who had been paid £400 for the jewellery at the Cash for Gold outlet and she had received half that.
The defendant had not appreciated the seriousness of what she was doing at the time but was full of remorse.
It was significant she had contacted her grandmother and confessed to what she had done.
Her conscience was affecting her and she felt very badly about what she had done.
She had also written to two complainants to apologise for what she had done.
“I cannot tell you how deeply she regrets what happened here. She realises that she has to be punished,” he said.
The defendant was too distressed to speak in court but her mother said she was deeply sorry and appreciated the heartache she had caused.
Magistrates called it a despicable offence and said it “beggared belief” people had lost sentimental jewellery because of her.
See full story in the Leader