A security guard pocketed a passenger’s designer watch and sold it on for a fraction of its value a court heard.

Jodie Derrie claimed she found the £6,000 Rolex watch under her seat on a bus as she travelled home after a late shift.

It had previously been found by her security colleagues in the screening area of the airport and placed in a secure storage area.

However upon finding it, instead of handing it in, Derrie kept it for a few days before selling it to a branch of Cash Converters for £1,000 reports LeicestershireLive.

The watch had gone missing in peculiar circumstances three days earlier – on Friday, March 6 this year – when Derrie was not at work, Leicester Magistrates’ Court  heard.

Its owner had taken it off and placed it in a tray along with her other possessions before she went through a metal detector prior to boarding her flight.

She completed the screening and collected her belongings, but did not notice her watch was missing. She only realised her mistake while she was in the air and immediately reported the matter as soon as she landed at her destination.

By that time, staff at the Castle Donington airport had found the watch – which had somehow fallen from the storage tray during the screening process.

They put it in their lost property box before moving it to a secure storage area when they realised its value, Sally Bedford, prosecuting, told the court.

Derrie, 39, returned to work the following Monday, completed her shift and boarded the Skylink shuttle bus to travel home to Loughborough.

She maintains she found the watch in a brown padded envelope under her seat during her journey, Ms Bedford said.

Derrie took the Rolex to her home in Peel Drive and later visited a branch of Cash Converters.

The shop initially offered her £2,000 for it, but having had it sent away for examination, later reduced their offer to £1,000.

An inquiry was launched and Derrie was tracked down because she used her real name and address in her dealings with Cash Converters.

Derrie, who has worked on the security team at the airport for three years, appeared in court on Wednesday September 23 to admit a single charge of theft.

Ms Bedford told the court: “Inquiries were made and they led back to this defendant and she was arrested and interviewed.

“She said she had found the watch in a brown envelope on the Skylink bus on her way home.

“She said she had taken it to Cash Converters. She knew it was not hers and that she should have handed it in.

“It’s clearly an opportunist theft but is a breach of trust of the position she held.

“The watch has been sold and remains unrecovered.”

Derrie’s solicitor Debbie Hubbard said: “She accepts she should have handed it to the bus driver and not taken it home and later sold it to Cash Converters.

“It’s a breach of trust, but not a sophisticated one – she sold it in her name and gave her address.

“Cash converters did not give her money immediately. They took it from her and sent it away.

“Initially they said they would give her £2,000, but when it came back they gave her £1,000.

“She was struggling for money. She is a single woman on a low income.

“She tells me that when she took the watch she had just paid her rent from her overdraft and was worried because she was living on borrowed money.

“She is not suspended, she has been working throughout this.

“She has an interview, a disciplinary hearing, and because she has admitted this it is inevitable she will lose her employment.

Magistrate Beverley Cemmel told her: “The value of the watch is significant and this was a breach of trust.

“If someone loses something at an airport, they naturally expect a member of security staff to hand it in.”

Derrie was ordered to pay £4,000 compensation to the victim and to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.

The bench did not order Derrie to pay costs or the usual victim surcharge and told her the compensation payment was the priority.

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