HE believed he had struck gold – quite literally.
Justin Kayola handed over £678.99 to the police for eight shiny gents’ rings that he bid for in an online auction.
The website contains hundreds of items – including jewellery, clothes and mobile phones – which have been seized by police but the rightful owner cannot be traced.
But Mr Kayola was shocked and bewildered when he went to three pawnbrokers and they all told him the rings were worthless and were in fact cheap brass.
All the rings had 18 carat marks, but were fakes.
Now he has demanded some of his money back, but police are refusing.
Mr Kayola bought the rings from Bumblebee Auctions, where various police forces can advertise items for sale.
Hampshire police had advertised eight gents’ rings, describing them as ‘yellow metal finish with a combined weight of 102g’, ‘worn’, and ‘all have marking but have not been verified’.
After winning the bid, Mr Kayola, a 42-year-old social worker, travelled down to Havant police station from Reading to pick up the rings.
He said: ‘I went to three pawn shops and they all said to just go and report it to the police.
‘I said I can’t as I had bought them from the police.
‘I thought they would definitely be worth something.
‘If this happened on eBay or Gumtree, somebody could be in big trouble.
‘I thought it was a genuine source.’
When he complained, Mr Kayola asked if at least a portion of the sum could be refunded, but those running the website said it was a fair sale.
Mr Kayola added: ‘My feeling is they should not put these things on until they can verify them.
‘It feels like they are tricking you.
‘They have left me out of pocket. It was all my savings.’
A statement from Hampshire police said: ‘The items were purchased in good faith following an online auction which gave a fair and accurate description of the rings.
‘They were described as rings with a yellow metal finish, all of which were marked but the post clearly stated these marks were not verified.
‘There was no reserve price on the items and what the bidder decides to bid is up to them.
‘We are aware that a complaint was made to the online auction site which has looked into the matter and concluded that there was nothing inaccurate about the description given.’
Proceeds from the website go towards police initiatives and charitable causes.
James Bell, from Cash Zone pawnbrokers in Leigh Park, said: ‘They were not described as 9 or 18 carat gold.
‘There’s been a misunderstanding but I don’t think they (the police) have misled.’