Pet Detective sniffer dog uncovers huge jewellery haul in Hampstead woodland
PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 April 2018
A sniffer dog belonging to an ex-policeman turned private investigator has uncovered a haul of precious jewellery from woodland in Oak Hill Way, Hampstead.
Now Colin Butcher, of the Pet Detectives agency, which specialises in finding lost pets, is appealing for the owners of the thought-to-be stolen jewels to come forward.
Mr Butcher told how he and his search dog Molly, the only fully trained ‘cat detection dog’ in Britain, were scouring woodland in Hampstead, near Oak Hill Way, after being called out to find a family’s lost Patterdale terrier, Cola. when they stumbled on a treasure chest.
Mr Butcher said: “Molly started to pay attention to a mound of leaves beneath a large oak tree.
“I went over to check on her and spotted the flash of what looked like a diamond ring.
“As she dug further down she unearthed several rotten jewellery boxes and numerous other items of jewellery.”
Mr Butcher took the jewellery back to the agency’s office, where he washed and dried the 60+ gold, silver and diamond pieces.
He added that he believed the find to be stolen goods, and said: “I suspect the jewellery was stolen during a burglary and judging by the decay to the wooden jewellery boxes I suspect it was early last year .
“There were four wooden jewellery boxes so they would have been very bulky.
“Perhaps the thief hid the boxes intending to return at a later date and recover them.”
Mr Butcher is appealing to trace the owner of the find, uncovered on Friday, March 16.
He said: “I would like to identify the owner and return the jewellery to them.
“Owing to the fact that the items were found on private land and I cannot prove they are high value the police have informed me that I should take all reasonable steps to trace the owner.
“If the owner is not traced the jewellery will belong to Molly.”
Mr Butcher has recovered another jewellery box which he will ask the owner to describe, in order to prove that the items belong to them.
He added: “Any dispute of ownership will have to resolved by the police and the owners insurance company.
“There are some distinctive pieces which only the true owner will be able to identify.”
If you think you could be the owner of the jewellery, please contact The Pet Detectives on: firstname.lastname@example.org.