A DIAMOND engagement ring has been returned to its owner after a couple were found attempting to pawn it in the town centre.

Tracey Bose, 48, passed the ring down to her 22-year-old daughter Nickie when she got engaged two years ago.

But after a night out last weekend Nickie realised the ring had slipped off her finger, and assumed it had been picked up by a punter.

The ring was made specifically for Tracey 16 years ago, and it took Nickie three days to pluck up the courage to tell her mum what had happened.

And after it was found, Nickie was happy just to receive an apology from the pair who took it.

“She did not tell me until Wednesday because she was too frightened,” said Tracey.

“Then I went on a mission. It is unique so if someone tried to sell it people would recognise it.

“It is valued at around £2,000, and it’s a 14-carat marquise diamond ring. It was made in the States so I could not have replaced it here. The jeweller my husband bought it from was in Los Angeles, and only did one-of-a-kind rings.”

Tracey and police officers visited all the local jewellers with pictures of the ring in case someone handed it in, which led to an eagle-eyed worker at Hinds jewellers spotting the ring.

“The staff in Hinds played a big part in it,” said Tracey, who works at shoe shop Sole Trader.

“A girl there had the pictures we gave out, and when the couple came in the lady was wearing it. She recognised it and agreed to value it, saying she just needed to take it away to look at the hallmark. At the same time she called the police.

“I wasn’t expecting to get it back. I had prepared myself for the worst. I can’t describe the feeling when they found it. I actually hugged a policeman.”

PC Paul Bezzant, community beat manager, said the couple may not have realised the law of the land is not ‘finders keepers’.

“This was an engagement ring the mother has passed down,” he said. “Her daughter has gone out on Sunday and her ring has fallen off in the venue. As a result we did rounds of all the secondhand jewellers shops in town trying to see if anyone had tried to sell it.

“The mum has been very proactive, and she got some information that there was another person trying to pass on the ring at the jewellers, who recognised it.

“The jeweller asked them where it was from, and they said it was from Italy. They thought that was quite unusual considering the style of the ring, so they knew something was up.”

The issue has been resolved privately between the parties.

“For the lady that has lost it the main thing has been getting it back,” added PC Bezzant. “She did not want to pursue anything.

“The offence is theft by finding. If you find something, you have to take reasonable action to try to return it to the owner.

“In this case it was found in a pub so the logical thing to do would be to go to the pub and tell them.

“It seems greed has taken over when they realised how much it might be worth. It was dealt with by local resolution when the pair apologised.”