Rolex watch fraudsters caught in the act by Chester town center jeweler

A MAN who attempted to pawn fake Rolex watches with an accomplice was surprised by an eagle-eyed downtown Chester jeweler.

Nigel Wheelhouse, 43, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Thursday, June 10, after pleading guilty to fraud by misrepresentation and possession of items for the purpose of fraud.

Wheelhouse appeared in custody as he fled before court proceedings were completed, was arrested and sentenced to one month in prison.

Continuing, John Oates said it was November 10, 2018, when a member of staff from SS Milton Jeweler and Pawnbroker on Eastgate Street saw two men outside the store, talking to each other.

The wheelhouse remained outside, next to a Jaguar he was driving, while his accomplice – Michael Breen, now 56, of Badger Bait, Little Neston – entered the store with a Rolex-branded box. in the store.

Breen attempted to pass the watches off as genuine Rolex watches.

Mr Oates explained that the owner was an expert and able to identify various things with the watch that showed it to be a fake.

He said it was “a very good quality fake” and that without the years of extensive expertise of the jeweler, he would not have been able to tell the difference.

Breen was asked about the watch, but gave unsatisfactory answers and looked nervous, leaving the store and leaving the watch and his ID documents behind.

He attempted to get into the Jaguar but, when Wheelhouse noticed the Jaguar being photographed, he drove away, leaving Breen behind. The Jaguar’s license plate has been removed.

A member of the public later saw boxes being removed from a Jaguar, placed near a power plant.

The member of the public thought the activity looked suspicious and “did the right thing” by calling the police, who found 14 Rolex-branded boxes and two other fake Rolex watches.

The wheelhouse was located and stopped.

In an interview, he recounted what the prosecution said was a “rooster and bull story” about being duped over the authenticity of the watches, and claimed that Breen had gone to the store. to collect information on the authenticity of watches.

Wheelhouse had no previous convictions.

The court heard that Breen had previously been sentenced at Chester Crown Court, after pleading guilty to one count of fraud, to 10 months in jail, suspended for 18 months, and to duty to follow. an alcoholism treatment program and 20 days of rehabilitation activity. requirement.

In defense, Anna Price said Wheelhouse fully accepted what he had done.

During his last court appearance, Wheelhouse suffered from alcoholism, anxiety and PTSD and he “hit the bottle” and “buried his head in the sand” which led to his death. ‘flee before being arrested and put in jail, which was his first time in detention.

But, Ms. Price added, Wheelhouse had “turned things around” and got a full-time job.

Upon sentencing, Chester Honorary Judge Steven Everett said the discovery of the 14 Rolex-branded boxes was quite significant, as they “made the activity appear to be totally false and fraudulent.”

While the exact value of the watches – if they had been real and sold – would never be known, it was inferred that the value of three Rolex watches was around £ 12,500.

Wheelhouse was sentenced to 10 months in prison with an 18-month suspended sentence and 150 hours of unpaid labor. He must also complete 15 days of compulsory rehabilitation activity.

Counterfeit watches and boxes were to be confiscated and destroyed.

Floyd N. Morlan