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Monday, July 20, 1998 Published at 19:34 GMT 20:34 UK


Harrods box charges dropped

Jewellery and coins were allegedly stolen from a deposit box at Harrods

The Harrods owner, Mohammed Al Fayed, will not be prosecuted over allegations that papers and jewellery were stolen from a safety deposit box.

He was one of seven men arrested after claims that items were taken from the Harrods box, owned by Mr Al Fayed's rival Tiny Rowland in 1995.

Scotland Yard decided not to press charges after the Crown Prosecution Service advised that there was no realistic prospect of a conviction.

[ image: Tiny Rowland claimed his box was rifled in 1995]
Tiny Rowland claimed his box was rifled in 1995
Among the allegations made against Mr Al Fayed and his employees by Mr Rowland, who lost a battle for control of the Knightsbridge store in 1985, was a claim that precious stones, including emeralds and diamonds, and rare silver coins had been taken.

The seven men included Mr Al Fayed's Director of Security John Macnamara, his Personal Assistant Mark Griffiths and bodyguard Paul Handley-Greaves.

The other men arrested and questioned about the safe box allegations were Harrods employees Colin Dalman and John Allen and a seventh unnamed man.

None will face any charges, Scotland Yard said.

In a statement, the Yard said: "On advice from the Crown Prosecution Service proceedings will not be instituted against the seven men arrested in connection with the Metropolitan Police investigation into allegations of theft at Harrods.

"The CPS advised that there is no realistic prospect of conviction for any criminal offences.

" The Metropolitan Police is no longer actively investigating the allegations."

Mr Al Fayed accepted that Mr Rowland's box had been opened but said it had been done without his authority or knowledge.

[ image: Mohammed Al Fayed said the development was a
Mohammed Al Fayed said the development was a "triumph for the truth"
Mr Al Fayed, who along with his six employees is facing a civil claim for damages from Mr Rowland, said the announcement by Scotland Yard had been inevitable.

The Harrods owner said in a statement: "Today's announcement by the police is the only outcome we had ever expected.

"It is regrettable it has taken 15 months to reach it but there can be no argument that the police investigation has been anything other than thorough and exhaustive."

"The collapse of criminal proceedings against us is a triumph for the truth."

Mr Rowland could not be contacted for comment.

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