A Heathrow baggage handler pinched £29,000 worth of jewellery and handbags. 

Priti Sthankiya, 46, of Hatton Road, Wembley, rifled through a bag which had been left behind at a baggage collection.

She took jewellery, watches, makeup, designer handbags, a purse containing £500, Ray-Ban sunglasses and a diamond ring worth £3,000.

But Sthankiya, who had worked at Heathrow for eight years, was caught on CCTV and most of the items were recovered from her home or locker. 

She said she cannot explain why she stole the items but that she was going through a stressful divorce at the time, 

On Thursday (April 11) she was given a one-year suspended sentence by an Old Bailey judge. 

Brent & Kilburn Times: Priti Sthankiya pictured leaving the Old BaileyPriti Sthankiya pictured leaving the Old Bailey (Image: NQ)The bag belonged to a woman who flew from Mauritius to Heathrow Airport on January 20 this year, arriving at about 8.30pm. 

Both she and her partner had stomach bugs and were very tired, so when they went to the baggage area to get their check-in bags they inadvertently left some of their hand luggage behind. 

They realised they had left baggage behind when the woman couldn’t find her Apple laptop and tracked it to Heathrow Airport, Judge Ian Shern KC said. 

“They went to Heathrow Airport multiple times but were told nothing had been handed in, so they reported it to police,” Judge Shern said.

CCTV footage showed Sthankiya wheeling the missing bag into a secure area before stealing various items. 

She then removed the bag’s tag and left what remained of it there, prosecutor Ryan Evans said. 

Sthankiya was arrested on January 24 and many of the missing items were found in her home. Two missing designer handbags were also found in her locker. 

The purse, £500, Ray-Ban sunglasses and diamond ring were never recovered despite thorough searches of her home. 

Jonathan Whitley, defending Sthankiya, said his client’s actions were impulsive. 

“She is not able to explain why she did it or what was going through her mind, save to say that she was very stressed and emotional because of divorce and other things she was going through at the time,” Mr Whitley said.

“In terms of the items that have not been recovered, she did not sell them. Police searched her address and her locker. She simply doesn’t know where they are.” 

He called on Judge Shern to suspend the inevitable custodial sentence she would receive, meaning she would not go to prison unless she offended again. 

Mr Whitley said: "This was something that was isolated and arose out of stress. It was an anomaly which is not going to be repeated.” 

Sthankiya was employed by a baggage handling company, rather than Heathrow Airport itself, and she was dismissed when her offending came to light. 

Judge Shern gave Sthankiya a one-year custodial sentence, suspended for one year.