£18,000. That is what the twisted gold wire bracelet was worth to me. Commonly known as a torc. Iron age. It was easy to steal and by the time anyone noticed the absence, it was being despatched by courier to a new home. That night I couldn't sleep. I've never felt guilty taking antiques from the public yet I couldn't get the bracelet out of my mind.
Found by schoolboys looking for treasure. Chance in a million. One of the boys suffered a family tragedy and this unexpected discovery brightened up his life. I couldn't stop thinking about the personal side of my theft. How would the boy and his family react? Normally I never got involved but this story was different. It was too close to home.
My son David found the bracelet in a neighbour's field with his metal detector. The one I gave him for his thirteenth birthday. We were all happy back then. After the fatal car crash I went to prison. Drink driving. My wife in the passenger seat. The family fell apart. David and his brother Ryan turned from happy affectionate kids to withdrawn and moody. After I was released I couldn't face what I had done and took off. Returned to my bad old ways before marriage. Certain the boys would have a better life with the grandparents.
By the end of the week I decided to steal back the bracelet. I did consider giving the museum an anonymous tip off but that could land me back in jail.
The night it was all done I had the best sleep in ages.
The next morning I picked up the phone and called the boys.