A PUBLIC spirited man has been praised by the police after handing in £500,000 worth of stolen jewellery.

The watches, rings and necklaces were reported missing following a burglary at Ernest Jones, Lakeside, on April 12.

However they were eventually found on last Sunday, May 18, by a man, from South Ockendon, who resisted the temptation to profit from his discovery and instead handed them into police.

He had found them in a holdall concealed in shrubbery growing in his garden on Darenth Lane in South Ockendon.

Det Insp Paul Lopez of the Serious and Organised Crime Unit said: "The holdall contained items taken from Ernest Jones at Lakeside during an aggravated burglary which happened in the early hours of Saturday, April 12.

“The jewellery has been returned to the store and the member of the public has been thanked for his public spiritedness.

“The jewellery that was found is thought to be worth around half a million pounds.”

Eight men are due to appear before Basildon Crown Court charged with aggravated burglary on July 14 and the jewellery will now be used as evidence.