Sunderland Jewellery Job

Here we tell the story of an unsolved Jewellery Job – a crime in Sunderland Town Centre.

Saturday night on May 24th 1930, Sunderland town centre was a busy place. At the gas office corner, workmen were laying new tramlines. The noise of the drilling and hammering over a period of days had the residents and shopkeepers pulling out their hair.

However, this was not the case for everyone. In fact, it was a blessing in disguise for one gang. Indeed, group of burglars used the noise to cover up their own noise while on a burglary job. Indeed, the thieves were chiselling their way into a jewellery shop in Fawcett Street and using the external noise as cover.

Sunderland Jewellery Job

The burglars had been watching Gowland and Grants Jewellers (now Northern Goldsmiths) and knew how to get in through the offices next door. Once inside the offices, then owned by W and TR Milburn, they went up the stairs with their bag of tools. They lifted some floorboards, and made a hole in the ceiling of the jewellers below.

The hole was 13 inches by 11 inches. This, of course is only small enough for a child. The gang then lowered the child in their dustsheet. The thief grabbed what he could find bracelets, gold watches, rings and necklaces etc. He placed them into the dustsheet for the rest of the burglars to lift up. Then the sheet lowered again to lift up the small thief.
Jewellery Job - Unsolved Sunderland Crime

Clean Away

With the workmen still drilling away outside no one heard the gang while they were on the job. Then they made their way back onto the street to disappear into the night. Though they had not got into the safe, they had still got away with £2,000 worth of jewellery. Indeed, this was a lot of money in the 1930’s. Moreover, even after a long investigation by police, the thieves got clean away.


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