Watch a report by Matthew Hudson.
A father and son have been sentenced after they stole more than 1.5 million worth of oriental antique jade ornaments from an elderly widow in Bedfordshire.
Des Pickersgill and his son Gary Pikersgill took the collection of jade artefacts from the victim in Bedfordshire and then tricked an auction house into selling the items.
The pair were only caught when the woman's home was burgled sparking an insurance investigation.
Over a seven-year period, Des Pickersgill, who is 84, and his son Gary plundered a collection of valuable jade artifacts owned by a vulnerable Bedfordshire woman now in her mid-nineties.
They then brazenly sold them through the reputable London auction house Bonhams for a total of 1.7 million.
Gary Pickersgill's wife Sarah allowed her bank account to be used to launder money. Friends Kevin and Tracy Wigmore also profited from the thefts.
Items stolen included a green jade bowl which fetched a 1 million at auction and teapot which went for half a million pounds.
The five defendants were convicted of charges including theft and fraud following a six week trial at Luton Crown Court earlier this year.
The thefts came to light after the elderly woman was the victim of an unrelated burglary in which jade items were also stolen.
When the insurance company made enquiries with auction houses they discovered that some items which it had been assumed had been taken in the raid had already been sold over the previous years which suggest that they had already been stolen.
In fact Des and Gary Pickersgill had simply smuggled up to 50 artifacts out of the victim's house under their clothes between 2011 and 2018.
Fraud is often seen as a victimless crime but this case clearly shows that this is not the case and that there are victims involved.
The court heard that the victim was more concerned with the sentimental value of the items which had been collected by her late husband than their actual worth.
ITV News has decided to protect the identity of the victim of these crimes.
Today, Gary Pickersgill was handed an 8-year jail sentence, his father Des Pickersgill was sentenced for 6 years in prison and Kevin Wigmore was sentenced to 2 years in prison.
Sarah Pickergill and Tracey Wigmore were given non-custodial sentences.
Read the rest here:
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