Dealer sold on stolen goods

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

A “DIS­HON­EST” an­tiques dealer who bought and sold £70,000 worth of items which had been stolen from the home of an el­derly woman in Cardiff has been jailed.

Vin­cent Clegg, 53, pleaded guilty to han­dling stolen goods taken from a home in Cyn­coed on Novem­ber 8, 2012.

The dealer, who ran a boutique in Lon­don’s jew­ellery quar­ter Hat­ton Gar­den, came into pos­ses­sion of 46 minia­ture por­traits which had been taken in the bur­glary, as well as nu­mer­ous vi­gnettes, an­tique watches, and gold boxes.

The to­tal value of the items stolen was £158,000, while the items pos­sessed by Clegg were worth be­tween £73,000 and £78,000.

Clegg ini­tially de­nied all ac­cu­sa­tions of han­dling stolen goods but changed his plea to guilty in re­gards to one count of han­dling stolen goods two weeks be­fore he was due to face a re­trial.

A trial of is­sue took place at New­port Crown Court on Fri­day after Clegg pleaded guilty on the ba­sis that he did not find out the items were stolen un­til he had the minia­ture por­traits val­ued by Bon­hams.

His ac­count was re­jected by Judge Daniel Wil­liams who de­scribed a “rich seam of dis­hon­esty” run­ning through the de­fen­dant.

Sen­tenc­ing, Judge Wil­liams said : “[The home­owner], then 78, was the vic­tim of a bur­glary at her home on Novem­ber 8, 2012. The bur­glars must have tar­geted her home be­liev­ing it con­tained valu­able an­tiques.

“[She] was liv­ing on her own after her hus­band died two years be­fore. The an­tiques stolen were val­ued at £158,000, with 278 items in to­tal, a large quan­tity of which were minia­ture por­traits. Most of them were un­ac­counted for.

“You dis­hon­estly re­ceived a sig­nif­i­cant amount of the pro­ceeds of the bur­glary, in­clud­ing many of the minia­ture por­traits. Many have not been re­cov­ered.

“[She] said the bur­glary has made her scared and has aged her sig­nif­i­cantly and she has not slept well since this hap­pened five years ago.”

The court heard that Clegg had pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions re­lat­ing to han­dling stolen goods in the 1990s, with his last con­vic­tion in 1999 in­volv­ing an­tiques.

The judge added: “You re­main thor­oughly dis­hon­est.”

Clegg, of Heath Drive, Rom­ford, re­ceived a to­tal of three years im­pris­on­ment.

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