Dundee jeweller speaks of ‘worry’ as thief’s accomplice ‘still at large’

Stephen Henderson has slammed the 12-month sentence handed out to a notorious thief who made off with £40,000 worth of rings.

A Dundee jeweller has slammed the court sentence given to a notorious thief who made off with £40,000 of rings in a matter of minutes.

Stephen Henderson, 54, managing director of Stephen Henderson the Jeweller, said the one-year jail term handed out to Michael Walker “wasn’t sending out a good message”.

Walker, 32, entered the Union Street shop in February 2015 and made off with two rings, including an emerald cut diamond in an 18-carat white-gold band — valued at £25,000 — and a cut diamond valued at £14,500.

Walker, a prisoner at Perth, was sentenced at Dundee Sheriff Court on Monday by Sheriff Alastair Carmichael.

Mr Henderson said the store was not out of pocket and he was “relieved” that staff members were not injured.

However, he raised concerns that Walker’s accomplice has still not been caught, adding: “When I heard the sentencing of 12 months, my first thought was that it wasn’t sending out a good message that a serial thief was only serving that period of time.

Michael walker and police outside the jeweller shop.

“It’s also bit of worry that is accomplice is still at large and is still a threat to shops the length and breadth of the country.”

Stephen said it was the “largest haul” ever taken from the store, established in 1938.

He added: “It all happened so quickly. I think due to the incident happening within a matter of minutes, staff and myself were almost questioning did this really happen?”

Walker, from Liverpool, was seen loitering in the shop 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 display before they walked back in as the assistant went to retrieve the jewellery.

The woman brought the items to Walker.

He was invited to try on both rings. An accomplice then opened the store’s door and Walker bolted from the shop with the rings.

Mr Henderson added: “It’s certainly the largest haul we have ever had taken from the store. We weren’t out of pocket and were compensated for the theft through our insurances.

“Looking back, I’m just relieved none of the staff were injured during the incident — which was a very quick slick operation.”

Since the theft, Mr Henderson has taken measures to ensure staff safety and added: “Unfortunately, in this line of work, this type of incident can come hand in hand with the territory.

“We’ve been doing as much as we can to ensure staff are prepared for every eventuality.”