Designer watches, diamond rings and a solid gold baby’s dummy seized from a South Yorkshire criminal are to be auctioned off in Sheffield to pay back some of the £26 million he and associates made from a tobacco smuggling ring.
The crook was one of the ringleaders of a Yorkshire-based tobacco smuggling gang, and is currently serving a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence for tax evasion.
His ill-gotten gains, which were seized by police during their investigation into his affairs, are to be sold off at a Sheffield auction house to meet the court order.
The haul includes a nine carat gold baby’s dummy, and a 9ct diamond cocktail ring – which was initially thought to have been reality TV star Sharon Osbourne’s wedding ring, stolen from her home in 2004.
Inquiries established it was not the superstar’s ring, but it now forms the centrepiece of more than 30 lots going under the hammer at Sheffield Auction Gallery’s Spring Antique and Fine Art Auction on Friday, March 21.
Graham Wragg, of South Yorkshire Police’s economic crime unit, said: “Both South Yorkshire Police and HM Revenue and Customs had an interest in this individual and worked in partnership to secure his conviction.
“The courts have ordered he should realise all his available assets to repay his benefit from crime and to ensure he does not profit in any way from his offending.”
The criminal – who The Star cannot currently name – created a distribution network that transported millions of cigarettes throughout the north of England to warehouses, storage yards and farms.
The shipments were then broken down into smaller loads and delivered to towns and cities across the UK to sell on the black market.
Detectives who investigated the case believe the gang made £26 million, and seized the jewellery on the crime baron’s arrest.
Rolex, Chopard and Cartier watches are also among the lots, along with a 4.5ct stone ring and 7ct ear studs.
Online bidders are set to log on from all over the world.
Elizabeth Dashper, director of Sheffield Auction Gallery in Heeley, said: “It is unusual to find such an impressive collection of luxury items entered as a single consignment and we are pleased to be able to assist South Yorkshire Police in maximising the potential sale value.”
For more information about the auction and lots call 0114 281 6161.