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Woman who suspected cleaner of nicking £2k jewellery cracks case as cops give up

A woman who appealed for the police's help in catching her thieving cleaner was forced to take matters into her own hands after officers dropped the case.

Angela Reese had been having suspicions about her cleaner Billi-Jo Pratt, 27, after valuable items around her home in Broadstairs, Kent, had gone missing.

Around £2,000-worth of jewellery had gone walkabouts and the crime had been reported to local police.

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But they claimed that not enough evidence had been collected to charge the agency cleaner, so Ms Rees became an amateur detective instead.

The case was heard at Margate Magistrates' Court this week and last week, and Folkestone-native Pratt pleaded guilty to stealing around £1,825-worth of gold earrings, a sapphire pendant set, a yellow sapphire ring and several other items of bling.

According to Kent Online, the police did speak to Pratt, who denied knowing what had happened – so the case was dropped.

However, Ms Rees started asking at local pawnbrokers, and found the items missing had been taken to Carthew Jewellers Pawnbrokers in Ramsgate.

CCTV footage showed Pratt in the shop trying to flog the items for cash.

Police were informed and Pratt eventually owned up to it.

The court heard how she had left home to due domestic violence issues, was homeless when the theft in April, 2022, occurred and had hardly any money.

It was revealed she was also in breach of a suspended sentence for a driving office from two years prior.

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Chairman of the bench Diane August said: “This offence was committed in a position of trust and you were under a suspended sentence order at the time.

“We appreciate you were in difficult circumstances fleeing domestic violence and we have taken that in to consideration.

“We will not activate the current suspended sentence order as [the crime] was of a different nature.”

She was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work, take part in 25 rehabilitation sessions and pay a victim surcharge of £95, as well as £85 in costs.

She was also given an 18-month community order.

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