Kinross dealer stole rare £5,000 stamp from grieving family

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image captionRichard Allcoat admitted the theft at Perth Sheriff Court

A stamp dealer has admitted stealing a stamp worth £5,000 from a grieving family's collection after they asked him to value it.

Richard Allcoat took the most valuable stamp in the £23,000 collection and tried to sell it on ebay.

Allcoat, who runs a stamp shop in Kinross, was caught when the family noticed the stamp was missing.

He was fined £2,500 at Perth Sheriff Court after admitting carrying out the theft last September.

The court was told the collection belonged to the Jarvie family, whose father died last April.

Fiscal depute Sarah Wilkinson said the family consulted Allcoat at his shop.

Declined offer

She said the family had previously taken photographs of the stamps in the most-expensive album.

Allcoat called David Jarvie and told him he would offer £5,000 for the collection, but Mr Jarvie declined.

He subsequently noticed that the most-expensive stamp was missing and had been replaced with another stamp from the album.

Ms Wilkinson said: "On the same day, Mr Jarvie searched the accused's online eBay store and found the missing stamp for sale for £649.99.

"He called the accused and demanded the stamp back.

"The accused informed Mr Jarvie he took the stamp as payment for the valuation."

Allcoat later claimed the stamp had fallen out of the album and he had decided to sell it.

Mr Jarvie turned up at Allcoat's home and was given the stamp back and the police were contacted.

'Frankly incredible'

Allcoat told officers: "I don't even know why I did it. There was a stamp on the floor when they left.

"For some reason I picked it up and put it on eBay. I can't fathom it. I'm not a liar and I'm not a cheat."

Representing himself, Allcoat told the court he had been suffering from depression after losing his parents.

He disputed the value of the stamp and the collection and said that in his opinion the full collection was worth about £8,000.

He said: "It was not for financial gain. I am financially well set. I am hugely sorry and apologetic.

"They had been going through the grieving process, as had I."

Sheriff Neil Bowie said he found Allcoat's explanation "frankly incredible."

He said: "For someone who sells valuable stamps that is a very dishonest act you have undertaken."

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