A JUDGE has expressed his dismay at police who allowed a stolen pen to be stored with an convict's personal property.

Kieron Barrett, 38, waited for his whole trial to go ahead before admitting his crime and providing the location of an expensive stolen Montblanc fountain pen.

He previously denied snatching the pen during a burglary, but after a jury convicted him in April this year, he revealed it was being kept with his belongings in a safe at Bullingdon Prison.

At Oxford Crown Court on Monday, Judge Peter Ross said: “You took everyone by surprise. No one had believed the account you gave to the jury. It was palpable nonsense.

“I don’t think anybody expected you to not only accept the jury had got it right, but that the property you had stolen was safe in Bullingdon Prison, not having been taken from you by police.

“Why they didn’t question why you had such a high value item on you is beyond me.”

Barrett, of Abingdon Road, Cumnor, stole the pen from Kingston Court, in Walton Street, Oxford, on October 21, last year. He had the pen with him when arrested the same day and was ‘booked in’ by officers, before he took it to jail on October 22.

Montblanc fountain pens range in price from a few hundred pounds to several thousand. The value of the stolen pen was not revealed.

Police spokesman Gareth Ford-Lloyd said: “Standard custody process means that only money and jewellery are itemised, other items are marked as miscellaneous, so a pen would not have been listed individually among Barrett’s belongings. The victim then contacted us on October 26 to say that something had been taken from the property which was a Montblanc pen.

“It was only when Barrett admitted that he still had possession of the pen that we were able to contact HMP Bullingdon and request it be returned."

Barrett, who is charged with one count of burglary, will be sentenced on November 6, after Judge Ross decided to defer the decision.