A notorious jewel thief whose “prolific” campaign of raids was only stopped after he appeared on Crimewatch was today jailed after stealing rings worth £40,000 from a Dundee jeweller.
Michael Walker is already serving a lengthy prison term for a string of thefts at jewellers in the north of England.
Today he was ordered to serve another 12 months behind bars after Dundee Sheriff Court was shown CCTV footage of his raid at Stephen Henderson Jewellers in Union Street on February 5 2016.
Father-of-one Walker, of Liverpool, was seen loitering in the shop’s entrance alcove before opening a door and summoning a sales assistant.
She then followed him out of the store to look at rings in a window display before they both walked back in as the assistant goes to retrieve the jewellery.
The woman then brings the items to Walker – who is standing directly below and facing a CCTV camera in the store.
Walker is then invited to try on both rings, and places them on his pinky finger.
An accomplice – who has never been traced – then opens the store’s door and Walker bolts from the shop with the rings.
Fiscal depute Vicki Bell told the court: “The first ring is an emerald cut diamond in an 18 carat white gold band and is valued at £25,000.
“The second is a brilliant cut diamond set in a six core setting on an 18 carat white gold band and is valued at £14,500.
“The second man who came to the door was shouting ‘come on, let’s go’ and in response the accused ran.
“He was never caught by the staff member who gave chase and was not traced by police.
“As a result the rings were never recovered.
“This offence was the first in a course of conduct that then followed at other jewellery shops.”
Walker, 32, a prisoner at HMP Perth, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of theft.
Defence solicitor Susan Gibson said: “He is serving a two year 10 month sentence for thefts to a value of £150,000 imposed at Liverpool Crown Court in December 2016.
“He was in Aberdeen visiting a friend and had been to a casino and lost a lot of money.
“He is a gambling addict and was gambling on roulette machines.
“He was in a vicious circle and was in debt and these offences then occurred.”
Sheriff Alastair Carmichael jailed Walker for a year.
Walker was featured on BBC’s Crimewatch programme last summer as police investigated a series of thefts in St Helens, Warrington and York committed after the Dundee crime.
The crook – who previously served a four-and-a-half year jail term for a robbery in 2006 – was captured carrying out the “unsophisticated” crimes on CCTV and made full admissions after his mugshot was shown on the TV show.