A SHOPKEEPER has spoken of his disbelief after a case was dropped against a woman found to be selling his stolen watches on eBay.

Mike Wells’s shop Uptomen in Rectory Grove, Leigh, was targeted on Christmas Eve and 19 Storm and Torgoen Swiss watches were stolen.

A few days later, a woman was found to be selling three of the watches on eBay with the Uptomen tags still on them, leaving no doubt as to their origins.

One of the watches was recovered from the woman’s home and the woman was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods.

However, in a letter dated February 17, Mr Wells was told by Essex Police the Crown Prosecution Service had decided to drop the case, on the basis a successful prosecution was unlikely.

Mr Wells, 43, said: “I’m very disappointed nothing is going to happen to this person because it’s not a very good deterrent.

“It feels as though they’re saying to people it’s OK to handle stolen goods but, if they don’t tackle the people doing that, it’s only going to fuel the demand for people to commit these burglaries.

“It’s disheartening after you’ve put all that personal investment into a business, but I’ve had a lot of support from customers.”

Mr Wells added he no longer keeps the watches on the premises and the store’s security had been upgraded, with improved alarm and CCTV systems and a new door.

In the letter from Essex Police, officers said: “After evaluating the evidence the CPS has decided no further action will be taken against the female who sold the two watches on eBay.

“The CPS has to consider and apply a variety of tests to evaluate the likelihood of a successful prosecution and they did not believe this case met the criteria.”

They added: “I am sorry this is not the final result we had hoped for.”

A police spokesman said: “A 47-year-old woman from Southend was arrested in connection with inquiries into the theft of a number of watches from a shop in Leigh.

“The woman was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods on January 21 and interviewed at Southend police station then bailed pending further inquiries.

“Following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service, she had her bail cancelled and no further action is anticipated.”