TRICKSTERS stole thousands of pounds worth of jewellery in a distraction theft at an antiques fair near Dorchester.

Police are hunting for a man and a woman after they allegedly stole £9,600 of antique jewellery at a fair at Kingston Maurward College on Sunday (February 3).

A stallholders reported that around lunchtime a man and woman approached her stall and selected four silver bracelets and four 18-carat gold jewellery items.

The pair asked if they could wrap the items in paper and handed the stallholder a £100 deposit.

They then placed a paper package, which the stallholder believed contained all the items, into a carrier bag and handed it to the victim.

The would-be thieves said they would return in an hour with the rest of the money owed - £9,650 – and to collect the items.

After an hour the man and woman had still not returned so the stallholder checked the bag to see that all the items were inside.

She found that the four gold items were not in the paper and only the silver bracelets were in there.

The items taken were a bangle set with diamonds, a Georgian necklace chain, an Albert necklace and a rope style bracelet, all in 18-carat gold and with a total value of around £9,600.

Police are now appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

The woman is described as being aged in her 20s, around five feet two inches tall and petite. The man is described as being around five feet seven inches tall and with dark hair.

Police Constable Gemma Nowell-Smith, of Dorchester police, said: “We are carrying out an investigation into this incident and have made a number of enquiries.

“I am appealing to anyone who was at the fair and who witnessed any suspicious activity, or anyone who comes across items matching those described for sale in unusual circumstances, to contact us.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55190017636.