A WOMAN who picked up a stranger's £1,000 pound watch from an airport security tray and claimed she forgot to hand it in for 10 days has been cleared of theft.
Anda Gabur, 34, had sent her own belongings through the an in trays through an X-Ray machine at Luton Airport on August 9 and went through the security arch to wait for her things.
But as the businesswoman gathered her items from the grey plastic trays she spotted a silver Longines watch in a separate tray and picked it up.
Not long later at 6.45am she and her husband Timothy continued into departures.
Today she told Luton Crown Court had intended to hand the watch to staff, but became distracted when one of her bags had to be searched and “it slipped her mind.”
The court heard that the owner of the watch, Magdalene Doherty, reported the loss of her watch to airport security staff that morning.
CCTV cameras covering the conveyor belts and X-Ray machines were examined and Mrs Gabur was spotted taking the watch.
Ten days after flying out of the country to Romania with her family, she got off to find police officers waiting to question her.
Police body worn camera footage was played to the court showing the mother handing the watch to the officers.
In court today Mrs Gabur, an Operations Director at an IT company, pleaded not guilty to the theft.
Mrs Gabur told the jury she had a lot on her mind as she and her family passed through the airport’s scanning area.
She said she wanted to get her son who was aged 3 years and 7 months breakfast when they got to the departure lounge as well as presents for her family in Romania.
She said having collected her bags and the buggy from the conveyor belt she began stacking the empty plastic trays and spotted the watch in one.
I did pick it up because I thought I would break it if I flung my trays on top.Anda Gabur
“I did pick it up because I thought I would break it if I flung my trays on top. I thought someone had lost it as they had left it behind,” she said.
The wife told the court she asked a man standing nearby if the watch was his and “he said no.”
She said it was her intention at that point to hand the watch in to a member of the security staff and she walked away from the conveyor belt pushing the buggy and looking at the watch in her hand.
After retiring for two hours and thirty one minutes the jury found Mrs Gabur not guilty of the charge of theft of the watch.
As she left the dock Judge Rebecca Herbert told her: “Mrs Gabur you leave this court without a stain on your character.”
Moments later she broke down in tears as she was hugged by Timothy.
Outside the court Mrs Gabur said: “ I am relieved it’s all over because it’s been a long ten months. Now I am glad it’s all over.”
Her husband said: “It should never have come to court. We had to pay tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees just to protect ourselves. We are just fortunate we had the means to do it."