A DROITWICH man said he was only guilty of “not returning lost property” after he admitted stealing and pawning a diamond earring belonging to his ex-wife.

Daniel Dighton admitted theft by finding after selling an 18-carat, white gold, diamond earring belonging to Natalie Williams last year.

The court heard how Miss Williams was visiting Dighton's home in July last year when one of the clasps broke on one of her earrings.

Because of this, she removed it and placed it in her handbag, leaving to go back to her own address.

When she arrived home later, she found the earring was missing and phoned a local pawn-shop to ask whether anyone had sold them a similar item.

They confirmed one earring matching its description had been sold to them for £70 on July 10, confirming it had been Dighton who had sold them the earring by checking the ID records of the sale.

Dighton appeared unrepresented in court, and said: “Besides the fact she got the earring back, the only thing I am guilty of in my eyes is not returning lost property - yes I am guilty of theft by finding.”

Magistrates fined Dighton £80 in addition to costs of £135 and a victim surcharge of £32 when he appeared in court in Worcester on February 20.

They had originally ordered compensation of £70, but the prosecution told the court there was no address on the record for Natalie Williams, so they could not apply for it.

33 year-old Dighton, of Trent Close, Droitwich, told the court he could “just about” afford to repay the fine at £10 per week.

He has nine previous convictions for theft, the last coming in 2018.