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X-ray exposes ring-swallowing thief

With this ring, I thee nick

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A jewellry-swallowing ne'er-do-well who tried to make off with a £1,750 engagement ring from a shop in Dorchester, England was collared when police ran a metal detector over his stomach.

And when Simon Hooper, 28, denied he'd swallowed the ring, police subjected him to an X-ray which confirmed its presence, The Telegraph reports. They then had to "seek an extension of his custody time limit and wait three days outside his cell until the ring passed and they were able to recover it".

Hooper went to the Clock House jewellers on 23 November last year and asked to see the offending ring. Jeweller Fred Burgess duly obliged, but when he turned his back, the perp "put the ring into his mouth and swallowed it".

Burgess recounted: "He walked in and told me his girlfriend had just had a baby and so he wanted to ask her to marry him. He seemed quite plausible and I had no reason to believe that he couldn't afford it. As he held it in his hand I turned back to the window to get two more rings but when I looked at him again the ring had disappeared.

"I asked him where it was and he claimed he had given it back to me. But the box it was in was empty and I asked him to empty his pockets. I still couldn't find the ring and I could only assume he had swallowed it because there wasn't anywhere else it could be."

Burgess alerted the police, who carried out the ring-detecting tests.

Hooper admitted theft before magistrates at Blandford, Dorset, and was jailed for 12 weeks on Monday. In mitigation, Hooper's defence council Desmond Reynolds said the defendant's judgment "had been affected by alcohol".

Regarding the ring, Fred Burgess reckons he'll cop a £1,000 loss on it because he can only sell it to another jeweller. He lamented: "I don't want to sell the ring in my shop now I know where it has been so it will be polished up and then sold through the trade for about £600 pounds." ®

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