Around £100,000 worth of jewellery belonging to the Duchess of Argyll was sold on for a fraction of the price by Glasgow Airport, according to reports.
The Duchess lost four items of jewellery - a Victorian tiara, a Cartier brooch, an emerald ring and pearl earrings - in a bag at Glasgow Airport in 2006 as she returned home from London to Inveraray Castle.
They were found by the British Airports Authority (BAA), who sold it on instead of contacting the Duchess.
She reported the loss to the police and the Art Loss Register (ALR), which listed it on its database of stolen antiques.
But the Duchess heard nothing further about the jewellery - until she spotted her Cartier brooch in a catalogue of the Scottish auction Lyon & Turnbull (L&T).
Christopher Marinello, the ALR's lawyer, looked into the case and found that the BAA had actually sold the jewellery on for £5,000 to a diamond merchant.
They gave the proceeds to charity, as is the case for lost property unclaimed within three months.
Mr Marinello told the Independent: "Apparently, the airport found the jewels or they were turned in to 'lost and found' by someone... The question remains: what did they do to help find the owner? They didn't call the police even though the airport police had a record of the theft. They didn't call ALR. The only thing they did was sell them."
The Duchess said: "I'm absolutely amazed. I thought that after six years I'd lost them forever. The tiara was a Victorian family one and the necklace was given to me for my 21st birthday. So everything was very special."
The BAA said they have been helping to get the pieces returned to the Duchess, telling the Independent: "We have since assisted the police with their recent enquiries and paid a sum equivalent to the money raised from the sale to enable the items to be returned to their rightful owner."
They have managed to procure the brooch and her tiara, but the ring and earrings are still missing.
A spokesman from BAA added that they would be reviewing their lost property procedures.
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