A stolen Cartier watch said to be of great sentimental value was returned to its rightful owner after being taken two years ago.
The 49-year-old was reunited with her watch this week, which was a gift from her parents, after she identified the lost item on a Flickr website set up by the Metropolitan Police.
She said: “I would not have found it had it not been for the website that urges people to look at the site to see if their property has also been recovered.”
It contains images of 167 of the 491 stolen items recovered in a series of search warrants that were carried out on July 6 at east London addresses suspected of burglary.
Detectives from the Tower Hamlets Crime Squad executed the warrants and recovered over half a million pounds worth of stolen goods.
Among the items were high value jewellery and antiques, several air rifles, including a 308 Remington rifle, and the Cartier watch.
Tower Hamlets Crime Squad have been carrying out investigations since the warrants and have discovered that a number of items were stolen in armed robberies on jewellers, household burglaries and thefts across the southeast of England from 1994 to late 2010.
Among the cases solved was that of former Arsenal footballer player Laureano ‘Lauren’ Bisan-Etame Mayer’s lost watch. The footballer was reunited with his Rolex Daytona watch in November after it was taken in 2005 when his home was burgled.
The Flickr page, entitled Tower Hamlets- Operation Avitus, has been set up to help owners find their stolen belongings.
The operation reflects the dramatic surge in burglaries reported in Tower Hamlets.
Scotland Yard statistics show that the number of business robberies reported this year has totalled 104, more than double the number last year.
The number of house robberies reported in 2011 has reached 1,509, almost a third greater than 2010.
Cassandra Khan, 27, who works in her father’s shop Kowaj Jewellers in Bethnal Green and told EastLondonLines how recently £2,000 worth of gold bangles was taken from the family run business.
“We have noticed a massive increase in burglaries on jewellery shops in this area. More and more people are taking jewellery to sell on at markets. It’s a big part of the culture in Tower Hamlets.”
Police are now urging victims of unsolved burglaries to search the website for any items belonging to them.
Detective Sergeant Richard George of the Tower Hamlets Crime Squad said: “Flickr means we can display the property in an easily accessible way. We hope that victims will look through the images and will recognise their property.
“We are going to put more images on Flickr soon but people can still get in touch with us if they have had high value jewellery, antiques or silverware stolen from 1994 to 2010, even if the image of the item isn’t on Flickr at the moment.”