A businesswoman was forced to close her jewellery shop after police lost a box of evidence she says contained £38,000 of gold.
Jill Archer, who owned Goldmine in the High Street, claims she has been left nearly £300,000 out of pocket after a tray containing her stock went missing.
She has taken her case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and says she will take Kent Police to court if they don’t repay her what is owed.
The 52-year-old said: “I’ve lost a lot of faith in the police.”
Her ordeal started in November 2013 when she noticed stock was missing from her Sittingbourne shop and called the police.
A box of jewellery worth nearly £40,000 was seized by officers as evidence for examination.
It was supposed to be returned to her two days later but the box went missing.
“I’m waiting for a response. I provided them with documents on the value six months ago, but they haven’t done anything” - Jill Archer
After 17 months, Mrs Archer has not been compensated for the missing stock, leaving her with no option but to close the shop.
She said: “I didn’t know for three months it had gone missing.
“We had no stock left, therefore no customers. We put all the money we had into the
Mrs Archer, from Chatham, who owns another gold shop in Ashford, said she made a loss of about £114,000 in the last year.
She was able to claim £10,000 from her insurer but it was not enough to save the branch.
Mrs Archer said: “I am around £300,000 down.
“The shop was worth £125,000 but isn’t worth anything now I’ve had to close it.
“My loss of turnover is £114,000, plus what was in the box, plus damages and the stress this has caused me.
“My blood pressure is through the roof and my hair has fallen out in places.
“I’m waiting for a response. I provided them with documents on the value six months ago, but they haven’t done anything.”
A police spokesman said the force took full responsibility for the loss of Mrs Archer’s jewellery and security had been increased at its property stores.
He said: “The financial claim concerning her loss is being dealt with by the force’s insurers in conjunction with our legal services department and compensation will be paid following her provision of documentation confirming the value of the items lost.
“The public has the right to expect that any items seized by police will be kept securely and returned to them if and when appropriate during the course of an investigation.
”We regret the distress caused to Mrs Archer and have undertaken a review of security in our property stores.”
Stories you might have missed