Jewellery store owner denies knowingly buying stolen £12,000 diamond necklace from East Anglian burglary gang

Ammir Kohanzad, 68, of Ingestre Road, Calver London. Picture: Staff photographer

Ammir Kohanzad, 68, of Ingestre Road, Calver London. Picture: Staff photographer - Credit: Archant

A Hatton Garden jeweller told a jury he had no idea a £12,000 diamond necklace he bought for £1,500 had been stolen by an East Anglian criminal gang.

Ammir Kohanzad, 68, who runs Danesh International jewellers, is accused of being part of a sophisticated criminal enterprise, which saw more than £2 million worth of property stolen between February and December 2017 - including high-performance cars, cash and jewellery.

Kohanzad, of Ingestre Road, Calver, London, has denied handling stolen goods.

Giving evidence at Norwich Crown Court, Kohanzad said he had been running his family business for 35 years: 'We buy and sell jewellery and we buy and sell diamonds.'

He said when the necklace was sold to him on November 2, 2017, he estimated it was worth about £3,000 trade or about £5,000 to £6,000 retail and strongly disputed the prosecution claim the necklace was worth about £12,000.

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The necklace was sold to him by Charlie Webb and John Eli Loveridge, who have already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle.

He said he had not seen the men before and they told him they had inherited the necklace.

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Kohanzad said he had not asked them for ID as his shop has a large number of security cameras.

'It's got cameras so I did not ask for ID. For me that's okay.'

He said he asked if they wanted the £1,500 for the necklace to be paid as a bank transfer but they said they wanted cash, and then left the shop.

He said that he had tried to be helpful when police had carried out a search warrant at his shop at 5pm, that same day.

He said he let them have access to the CCTV footage.

Kohanzad said he did not recognise Webb and Loveridge when they returned to his shop with another man a couple of days later. He said he paid them £5,300 for some gold items, most of which he melted down.

When police raided his shop a second time he handed over the bar he melted down only to discover when tested by police it was worthless copper.

He said he felt 'sick' when he found out he had been fooled.

Kohanzad said he was upset when police arrested him in January, this year.

'I was upset about the whole situation.'

Also on trial is James Pateman, 55, of Wollens Brook, Hoddesdon, Herfordshire, Thomas Pateman, 54, of Fen Road. Chesterton, Cambridgshire and Simon Oakley, 45, of Alburgh Road, Hempnall. They deny all offences.

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