‘Attempted sleight of hand’ during Games

Targeted during the Ballater Highland Games
Targeted during the Ballater Highland Games


Owner of Rowan Jewellery, Nicky Hepburn Grant, was alerted to a young man rattling one of the store’s locked cases at about 3pm, on Thursday, August 13. She opened the case and tried to help him.

Nicky said: “He was shaking a piece of paper with yellow trim on it against one of our gold rings, I assumed because he was trying to establish whether the ring was yellow gold or white gold - I assumed this because he didn’t seem to be able to speak English, although I suspected that he could understand what I was saying.”

Nicky added: “Because he was gesticulating so wildly with the paper, he ended up knocking down a rare piece of Scottish provincial silver, which I naturally went to pick up, and that’s when I noticed he had three of our other rings stuck to his finger-tips, with the price tags hanging off them.”

Nicky couldn’t believe it. “Even though he was trying to open a locked case, I didn’t think anything of it, because it happens all the time, it’s a natural thing to try and open something that’s locked,” she said.

She took back the three rings off his finger-tips, and then asked him to leave, while he shouted at her about making false accusations.

In jewellery circles, this trick is called an ‘attempted sleight of hand’. “The only digit I could see above his bit of paper was his thumb,” explained Nicky, “on the fingers I couldn’t see there would’ve been glue on the tips.

“And when I saw the tags hanging off his fingers, I just said: ‘You’re trying to steal from me.’ I was furious.”

The insurance company for Rowan Jewellery said that he was undoubtedly a professional jewellery thief.

Nicky described him as being a muscular five-foot-five, with jet-black hair and dark eyes.

The Police Scotland description stated that he was wearing a polo shirt which was white with very slim pink vertical stripes, low slung denim jeans and black shiny leather shoes.

Marr Area Inspector Martin Burgess said: “This is a very unusual type of crime for Deeside and it would have been a busy day given that it was the Ballater Games.

“I would like to appeal to anyone who saw anything usual or suspicious or recognises the description of the man to contact Police Scotland on 101.”

Nicky said that the main thing was that nothing was taken, and nobody got hurt.