A Brighouse businessman says his life has been “destroyed” after two of his own employees stole a valuable collection of jewellery from a workplace safe.
Mike Noble, managing director of RA Technology Limited, had used the safe at the company’s Brighouse headquarters to store a collection amassed over the last 36 years.
And it was this safe which workers Connor McCaffrey and Jordan Nettleship broke into on a number of occasions last August.
While many items had been bought as investments towards Mr Noble’s pension pot, the collection also included treasured family heirlooms of great sentimental value.
Among those items were his wife’s engagement ring and wedding ring, the latter of which had belonged to Mr Noble’s grandmother originally.
“It was an historic, family heirloom that was going to be handed onto my children one day and that’s gone,” Mr Noble said.
“There are things that are gone that can’t be replaced. Things that my wife held very dearly.”
Bradford Crown Court heard on Monday how McCaffrey and Nettleship covered CCTV cameras in a bid to cover their tracks, but conversation in which they planned the robbery had been recorded on security equipment elsewhere on the site.
Mr Noble said: “We could hear them discussing what they were taking, how much they could get for them. They talked about putting the empty ring boxes back so I wouldn’t expect a theft had occurred. It was unbelievable - the betrayal of trust.
“All my working life I’ve treated employees as best as I can, as family. We buy them Christmas presents, we make a fuss of their birthdays.
“For them to do that to use was unbelievable. They knew my wife was not well. Her father was dying of dementia. They knew we were under the cosh.”
Nettleship, 24, of Park Square, Northowram, Halifax, and McCaffrey, 21, of Buxton Street, Lee Mount, Halifax, had both denied stealing the jewellery until entering guilty pleas in March.
They even went as far as to point the finger at Mr Noble, claiming he was trying to defraud his insurance company.
But, believing the security measures at the site would prevent any theft, Mr Noble had not insured the items stored in the safe.
“We were putting the jewellery in a safe as our rainy day fund and as part of the pension pot,” Mr Noble said. “For this to happen is just unreal.”
He welcomed the judge’s decision to jail both men for 22 months, but said it was little comfort when there was no real prospect of recovery the money lost.
“They were utterly without remorse,” Mr Noble said. “They were in court laugh and joking. They thought they were going to get away with a suspended sentences.
“They’ve destroyed our lives though. They really have.
“We used to love coming into work. Now every time we come in, we cringe.”
While Mr Noble holds little hope of getting money back from the pair, he hopes that people who went on to buy the jewellery might come forward when the realise the circumstances.
Mr Noble said: “I believe the majority of people who bought it wouldn’t be aware it was stolen property.
“If they were to come forward, I would be happy to pay a meaningful reward to have them back.”
What items were stolen from the safe?
Mrs Noble’s 18ct antique wedding ring, made from African yellow gold and handed down from Mr Noble’s grandmother
Three carat engagement ring in blue Fattorini box
2.21 carat cross over ring with two stones
4.5 carat emerald and white diamond ring
4 carat diamond cluster with diamonds of different cuts on yellow gold band
White gold and diamond Tennis Bracelet with total 6.5 carats of white diamonds
Gold cross and gold chain surmounted with white diamonds, a gift from Mr Noble’s later mother to his wife
Lady’s Longines gold watch with gold bracelet.
Victorian gold box chain and engraved medal owned since 1970
Miscellaneous heirloom rings and other pieces of jewellery