A Whitby jeweller has been ordered to pay thousands after the disappearance of a treasured heirloom.
It took 15 years just to make it to court, but Gouldbuy’s boss Andrew Slater has been told he has until the end of this month to pay £5,270, after he was found to be at fault for losing the valuable timepiece.
His victim claims Mr Slater tried to fob him off with a fake after losing the watch, which was handed down to him from his late grandad.
And after the long-running spat was brought to an end in the courtrooms of Scarborough Magistrates’ Court, 60-year-old Ian Thompson feels the ruling calls into question Slater’s integrity.
“It’s been a harrowing 15 years,” said Mr Thompson, a maintenance manager.
“He is supposed to be an honest trader in Whitby, he hands out flyers at supermarkets saying he has decades of experience, but the court has shown him to be anything but honest.”
The saga started in March 1999, when the watch was handed to Mr Slater for a minor repair.
But after a series of delays and excuses, Mr Slater eventually claimed it had been stolen.
Slater said it had to go away, but Ian was told the watch repairer had gone away.
However, years later in 2009, the watch “miraculously reappeared” - but it was a totally different model.
A year later, the jeweller offered him a replacement - which was independently verified as a fake, albeit a “good one”.
Then, in a final desperate bid to end the wrangle, Mr Thompson claims Mr Slater handed him a box of watches to see if there was anything “he fancied”.
“I told him then I’m taking you to court,” said Mr Thompson.
And the case eventually found itself before the bench on Tuesday September 9, when Mr Slater was told he had 21 days to pay a fine of £3,500 after Mr Thompson supplied five witness statements proving ownership of the watch.
He was also ordered to pay £1,222 in interest and £545 in court costs.
When approached in his Flowergate store, Mr Slater said he would appeal.
Mr Thompson feels the case is over, adding: “The evidence is too overwhelming for him to even think about appealing.
“You just think to yourself, how can this keep going on?
“I mean, at the end of the day, would you take a watch into this man?”