This is the moment a brazen thief appears to be caught on CCTV stealing a bride-to -be’s engagement ring leaving her “inconsolable”.
Video shows a grey-haired man picking up a small object up from a petrol station forecourt at the spot where the ring was accidentally dropped just minutes before.
Incredibly, the middle-aged motorist pretended he had not see the ring and even helped distraught Fiona Morgan, 33, look for it when she returned to the scene.
It was only when Fiona and fiance Michael Gray, 34, asked staff at the Tesco petrol station to review their CCTV that they saw the man picking up a shiny object from the ground.
The couple have reported the incident to police and are appealing for information about the man who is believed to have been driving an old, red Nissan Terrano.
Fiona said: “I was inconsolable. I felt so angry that someone would do that to me, for someone to just barefaced lie about it.
“When we drove back I just burst into tears. I left really stupid but I didn’t realise how much it meant to me until it was gone.
“We were meant to be seeing friends but I just couldn’t talk to them.”
The clinical researcher had taken the ring off her finger while she was driving because it was rubbing against the gear stick.
“I had it in my lap and it must have fallen out when I got out of the car,” she said.
The couple returned to the petrol station on Barford Road, St Neots, Cambs, minutes later.
Fiona said: “We pulled up and my partner ran over to the forecourt.
“There was a guy filling up his car at the same pump. Michael spoke to him and he said, ‘no I haven’t seen anything’ and even looked round himself.”
But CCTV footage taken moments before shows the man – who looks middle-aged – pull up at the pump.
A shiny object can be seen on the ground next to the vehicle.
The car door blocks what is believed to be Fiona’s ring as the man gets out but he bends down and then seems to place something back inside the car.
When he shuts the door, the object on the floor is gone.
Another person can clearly be seen sitting in the passenger seat.
Michael and Fiona, from Haverhill, Suffolk, had been together for six years when they went on holiday to Croatia last June.
Fiona said she had no idea Michael, who runs his own car valeting business, was planning to propose.
“I was tired and I wanted to go back to the hotel room,” she said of the night he popped the big question.
“He insisted on going to the beach so I finally agreed.
“But as we got there he tripped on a ledge and the ring box fell out onto the sand.
“It was so sweet but I couldn’t stop laughing.”
She added “The ring wasn’t an expensive one because we were going abroad.
“He said he would get me something else later but I wanted to keep it.”
The silver ring has a zirconia stone with smaller stones set into the band on either side.
Of the suspected thief, she said: “I would like to see them caught and face the consequences.”
A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire police said: “We are investigating reports of a theft of an engagement ring in Barford Road, Eynesbury on January 21 at about 1.50pm.”
Police confirmed the car was believed to be a red Nissan Terrano but said they were unable to identify the number plate from the footage.