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Last Updated: Monday, 23 June, 2003, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Tune challenge for accordion thief
The accordion still had the 150 price tag attached, the court heard
A man was ordered to play a tune on an accordion by police to prove he had not stolen it, a court has heard.

Richard Browning was stopped in his car with the instrument hidden behind his driver's seat, Lewes Crown Court was told on Monday.

The 150 price tag was still attached to the accordion although Browning, of Midhurst Road, Eastbourne, claimed he had been using the instrument to busk on the streets of Seaford, East Sussex.

But the police officer, who stopped the 31-year-old in August last year, challenged him to play a tune to prove it was not stolen.

When Browning failed to raise a note on the instrument, the officer arrested him for shoplifting.

It was eventually discovered the accordion had been stolen from Music Memorabilia Saddlers House in High Street, Alfriston.

Browning, who admitted the theft of the accordion and 14 other crimes which included burglary and driving offences, was sentenced to two years in jail.

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