A PROLIFIC jewellery thief who stole a £10,000 Rolex watch from a Chichester store has been jailed for five years.
David Sydney Stephenson, 37, was charged with seven offences, including the theft last year from RL Austen, in North Street, on Tuesday, July 24.
After entering the shop, he went to the display cabinet with a sales assistant and while she was getting an item for him, he leant over and took the Rolex before leaving.
The jewellery he stole racked up to a grand total of half a million pounds.
Stephenson was arrested in Birmingham in November, following a Crimewatch appeal in September and information circulated by the Safer Gems scheme.
Stephenson pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to five years and three months in prison at Lincoln Crown Court on December 20.
Stephenson, of Malvern Avenue, Doncaster, asked to see rings in display cabinets, often from low shelves.
As the shop assistant bent down to get the items, Stephenson reached over and stole items from higher shelves.
He continued to pretend that he wanted to buy items, only leaving the shops after claiming he needed to call his wife.
CCTV images were circulated nationally via Safer Gems, an initiative set up to tackle crime in the industry.
This led to Stephenson being spotted in a shop in Birmingham, where he was arrested with three fake diamond rings in his pocket.
The investigation was handled by Lincolnshire Police.