Ex-Arsenal footballer reunited with stolen Rolex watch by Tower Hamlets police
Tower Hamlets detectives this morning reunited an ex-Premiership footballer with a high-value Rolex watch stolen from him more than five years ago.
Retired Cameroonian defender Lauren, who played for Arsenal until 2007, collected his Rolex Daytona watch, which can sell for up to �36,000, at New Scotland Yard
It was part of a haul of stolen goods worth more than �500,000 recovered by Tower Hamlets crime squad in July.
Officers searched addresses in Bethnal Green and Essex, finding over 400 items, including highly-sought after and collectible watches.
Police say the majority of the watches were produced in limited numbers and would be identifiable by their owners.
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High value jewellery, silverware, several air rifles and a decommissioned pump action Remington rifle were also found in the haul.
Police have linked a number of the watches to armed robberies on jewellers, household burglaries and thefts across southeast England from 1994 to 2010.
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They discovered one of the watches belonged to the footballer after enquiries with Rolex revealed how his watch had been stolen in March 2005.
Through staff at Arsenal, officers were able to track the player down.
Det Sgt Richard George of Tower Hamlets crime squad said:
“We are delighted to be able to reunite Lauren with his watch. “We are utilising every tool available to us to identify as many victims as possible.”
Detectives have set up a Flickr page containing over 200 pictures of some of the stolen goods in the hope of reuniting other owners with their property
The gallery, called Tower Hamlets - Operation Avitus, can be viewed on the Met’s Flickr page at www.met.police.co.uk.
A 73-year-old man was arrested for handling stolen goods on July 6.
He has been bailed to return to an east London police station in December pending further inquiries.