Justin Kayola thought he had literally struck gold when he bought eight rings from a police property auction only to find they were made of brass
A man who spent his life savings on ‘gold rings’ which turned out to be brass was advised to call in the police but his local force was the seller.
Justin Kayola thought he had literally struck gold when he bought eight golden coloured rings from a police property auction.
However, after discovering the jewellery was virtually worthless, several pawnbrokers told him he should report the matter to the police.
He was denied a refund by Hampshire Constabulary after being told it was his own fault for splashing out on items which came with a clear warning about their unverified authenticity Social worker Mr Kayola spent more than £600 on the eight rings which were advertised as having a ‘yellow metal finish’ and markings that were ‘unverified’ from an auction house website which specialises in selling lost or seized property from a number of police forces.
Multiple separate pawnbrokers confirmed that the eight rings, which each had 18 carat gold markings on them, were in fact made from cheap brass and were virtually worthless.
Ironically, when Mr Kayola discovered that the rings were worthless, he was advised by the pawnbrokers to contact the police for help. Now Mr Kayola is demanding his money back from Hampshire Constabulary and claims the force misled him about the items he was buying.
He said: “I went to three pawn shops and they all said to just go and report it to the police.
“If this happened on eBay or Gumtree, somebody could be in big trouble. I thought it was a genuine source.”
Hundreds of items including mobile phones, jewellery and clothes are put up for auction on the Bumblebee Auction website every year when police forces are unable to trace the original owners of the seized goods.
The proceeds of the auctions fund new police initiatives and charitable activities.
Hampshire Police today confirmed that it had placed the rings up for sale but insisted it had not been misleading in their description.
A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary said: “The items were purchased in good faith following an online auction which gave a fair and accurate description of the rings. They were described as rings with a yellow metal finish, all of which were marked but the post clearly stated these marks were not verified.
“There was no reserve price on the items and what the bidder decides to bid is up to them.
Buyer beware: There is a warning on the Bumblebee Auctions site
Bumblebee Auctions provides a written warning on the jewellery listings on its websites which states: “The goods being auctioned are second-hand, unless stated otherwise. The police force that listed the item and Bumblebee Auctions claim no responsibility for the authenticity, commercial value or quality of any of the items sold through Bumblebee Auctions.
“Where a description refers to ‘Stones’, ‘Yellow’ or ‘White’ metal in respect of jewellery items, then that should be taken to mean it’s substance is unknown.”
Despite the warning, however, Mr Kayola said: “My feeling is they should not put these things on sale until they can verify them. It feels like they are tricking you. They have left me out of pocket. It was all my savings.”