The owner of a jewellers in Kent fears she might not be able to cling onto her business after police lost £38,000 of gold they took from her shop as evidence three years ago.
Jill Archer, 54, who owns Ashford jewellery shop Gold Mine, still hasn’t received a penny from police following an incident in 2013 when officers took the tray of gold from her now-defunct Sittingbourne shop in connection with an alleged theft.
Although police have admitted liability for the missing tray and drafted in claims handlers Gallagher and Bassett to deal with the claim, Mrs Archer still hasn’t seen a penny.
She claims she has had to sell her house, her car and much of the family’s property to keep her remaining Ashford business solvent.
She told Kent Online: “The police promised to compensate me but they have done nothing about it. I have had to photocopy evidence numerous times but their loss adjusters keep putting up barriers saying I haven’t done things, when I categorically have. All this stress seems to be taking its toll. How am I supposed to stock my shop with no money?”
Mrs Archer, who has now begun seeking advice from an independent advisor, says she has done everything in her power to keep the Ashford shop afloat and make her business a success.
“I have had to sell my home, I have had to move house, my 13-year-old daughter had to move schools, I had to sell her horses. So if the police, or Gallagher and Bassett don’t do something quickly, I’ll soon be signing on because there is no more money to put into the business.”
Kent Police confirmed that the tray of gold had been lost while in their care and said an internal investigation was launched shortly afterwards.
A spokesman for the force told the news website: “We investigated this complaint and have taken full responsibility for the loss of Mrs Archer’s property from our Sittingbourne property store. The financial claim concerning her loss is being dealt with by the force’s insurers in conjunction with our Legal Services department and compensation will be paid following her provision of documentation confirming the value of the items lost. This is required for all claims when financial settlements are concerned. No other items went missing from the Sittingbourne property store in the same time period.”
The spokesperson added that it regretted the distress caused to Mrs Archer and said that a thorough review of the security measures in its property stores across the county had been undertaken.
“As a result of this review, security has been upgraded in all of our property stores. The investigation established an officer involved in the original fraud investigation failed to properly examine the items when the items in question were booked into the property store.
“There is no evidence or suggestion that this officer, who has since left the force, may have mishandled or removed the property from the store and there is no record of the property being booked out of the store. The force thoroughly investigated the incident. However, no arrests have been made to date. No officers or staff are facing disciplinary measures in respect of this incident.”
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