Benidorm bound Belfast man stole £4000 of jewellery from airport security tray

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A Belfast man has been convicted of stealing £4000 worth of jewellery from an airport security tray.

Keith Howard (47), claimed that when he saw the jewellery in the tray, he was going to report it to lost property AFTER his week long holiday in Benidorm.

Howard from Banbury Street, Belfast lifted the box of jewellery out of the tray and told his wife to put it in her handbag on August 22 of this year.

He was convicted of theft after a contest was held at Antrim Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

District Judge Alan White said Howard’s account was the most ‘preposterous story he had heard in years.’

Judge White said: “You didn’t have to pick it up, you could have given it to security men standing three feet away. To put it into a handbag for a week and take it to Benidorm is absolutely ludicrous.”

Speaking at the trial, Howard claimed that when he found the jewellery in the tray in the security area - rather than report it to staff or lost property - he would do this upon returning from holiday.

He said: “I saw the box had jewellery in it. I said to my wife that somebody had left their jewellery behind. I told her to put it in the zipped part of her bag and when we get back from holiday we would report it to lost property.”

When asked why he didn’t report it as lost property at the time, he claimed he didn’t know where to take it.

“Basically I didn’t know where it (lost property) was in the airport at that time and thought I would have more time to do it when I arrived home.”

His wife gave evidence at the contest, she said: “My tray was behind Keith’s he told me to put it into my handbag and give it to lost property when we came home. I wasn’t thinking.”

Judge White said “When people leave something behind in the security area they don’t expect it to have gone to Benidorm with somebody for a week. I have absolutely no doubt they were stealing it.”

Howard is to be sentenced on December 22 after a pre-sentence report was requested.