A 73-year-old Cotswolds arts and antique dealer has been cleared of stealing antiques from a fellow dealer.

A jury at Gloucester Crown Court on Thursday found Frank Faryab not guilty of the theft of £10,000 worth of ornaments and paintings that were delivered to his then home in Dollar Street, Cirencester, Glos, in February 2020.

The prosecution alleged he had agreed to pay for the items, which included two foo cloisonné dogs valued at £8,000, but then reneged on the agreement when another dealer, Mark Matlock, delivered them to him on behalf of their owner, Anne Drury.

Following the jury's verdict the judge, Recorder Matthew Turner, ordered the return of the ornaments to Ms Drury, who trades at the Top Banana antiques shop in Tetbury.

Mr Faryab, now of Sutton Benger, Chippenham, pleaded not guilty and told the jury he believed at the time that Mr Matlock owned the antiques, not Ms Drury, and he said he took them from him in lieu of a debt that Mr Matlock owed him.

Prosecutor Alec Small told the court that Ms Drury, who is in her eighties had Mr Matlock, make deliveries for her.

Mr Small said he took the antiques to Mr Faryab's address, including a statue and paintings for an extra £2000.

All the antiques were taken into his property by Mr Matlock. The two men then went to Nationwide bank for payment but Mr Faryab said he had forgotten his passport. They went back to his home and Mr Faryab went inside, but did not come back out again.

Ten minutes later Mr Faryab messaged Mr Matlock saying he owed him 'a lot of money' so he was keeping the antiques on lieu of payment.

He said Mr Matlock had claimed the antiques were his property and that he had agreed to give them to him to cover his debt to Mr Faryab.

He claimed that it was never made known to him that the goods belonged to Anne Drury he said he now conceded they were hers.