‘Ill-gotten gains’ rake in cash at auction

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A South Yorkshire Police auction of ‘ill-gotten gains’ has raked in an incredible £182,000.

A total of 34 lots went under the hammer in a six-and-a-half hour sale at Sheffield Auction House yesterday – including designer watches, diamond rings and a solid gold baby’s dummy.

The haul was seized by police from a South Yorkshire criminal during their investigation into his affairs last year.

The crook, one of the ringleaders of a Yorkshire-based tobacco smuggling gang, is currently serving four-and-a-half-years for tax evasion.

Elizabeth Dashper, director of Sheffield Auction Gallery in Heeley, said: “The auction was fantastic and we had a tremendous amount of interest in the room and on the internet during the sale.

“One of the biggest lots of the day was a 9ct diamond cocktail ring, that had a pre-sale estimate of £32,000, and ended up going for an incredible £60,000.”

The ring was initially thought to have been reality TV star Sharon Osbourne’s wedding ring, stolen from her home in 2004.

Inquiries later established it was not the superstar’s ring but the item ended up forming the centrepiece of yesterday’s Spring Antique and Fine Art Auction. Elizabeth continued: “The novelty item – the solid gold baby’s dummy – sold for £580 and four watches went for a total of £70,000.

“There were also some lovely diamond ear studs that sold for £23,000. 
We were pleased to be able to assist South Yorkshire Police in maximising the potential sale value of such an impressive collection of luxury items.”

The money will be used to pay back some of the £26 million the criminal and his associates are thought to have made.