The boss of a scrap metal business who stashed jewels worth tens of thousands of pounds in an office ceiling has been found guilty of handling stolen goods.
Charles Matthews, 55, of Virginia Water, Surrey, claimed the hoard of 50 diamonds and carved emeralds had been given to him by a friend.
He further claimed a diamond-examining kit found at London City Metals in August 2015 belonged to his father.
He was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court.
‘High-value uncut diamonds’
Matthews had told jurors he had no idea the jewels were stolen and that his friend James Tibbs had asked him to keep them in his east London company’s safe.
The haul included 50 diamonds valued at about £48,750, a pair of emerald earrings estimated to be worth $40,110 (about £31,500), and a sapphire, ruby and diamond-encrusted bracelet valued at $11,160 (about £8,750).
Judge Joanna Korner QC said: “I’m going to sentence him on the basis that he was handling high-value uncut diamonds, and the rest, and that’s an inevitable prison sentence.”
Sentencing was adjourned until 18 January.