A pensioner has been reunited with his lifelong collection of 115 pocket watches after they were stolen from his home 17 months ago.
Henry Peverill, 72, was devastated to find the treasured items had been burgled from his Banbury home last year and had given up hope of seeing them again.
It is always incredibly satisfying to return stolen items”PC James Rees
But after a builder from Coventry tried to sell the 115 watches at Cash Converters, staff became suspicious and the antiques were seized.
Police officers had no luck scouring crime reports – until they spotted a faint postcode written in UV pen on one of the watches.
It linked them with Mr Peverill and after 12,418 hours, the self-confessed horologist was reunited with his collection.
PC James Rees, who spotted the OX postcode, said: “It is always incredibly satisfying to return stolen items to where they belong, especially when they are irreplaceable and embody so much sentiment and memory as these watches do.
“Mr Peverill had understandably given up all hope of ever seeing them again so it was great to hand them over.”
DC Stephen Perry helped the Coventry cop by trawling through crime reports across the city and the pair made the 34 mile journey to return the collection.
Scott Sheldon, 29, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods and was handed a 16 week sentence, suspended for 12 months.
Police are urging people to record the serial numbers and details of their valuables by registering them online at www.immobilise.com