Five people have been charged as part of a probe into a high value theft in Colchester.

Essex Police officers were contacted following an incident in Vineyard Street car park around 3pm on Friday.

They say a woman, who was carrying a bag of high valued jewellery, had returned to her car when she was approached by a group.

They spoke with the woman and a number of members of the public.

When the group left the car park the woman realised a bag was missing from her car.

She chased after a person in the group, who was stopped by members of the public and the police were called.

Officers subsequently launched an investigation.

Police say a vehicle was later stopped on the A12 near Chelmsford. The car was searched and items including jewellery were found.

Four people were subsequently arrested.

Detective Sergeant Richard Vince, of Colchester CID, said: “First and foremost, to be able to return goods to an owner is always a pleasure and in this case, they are clearly of sentimental value.

“To the people who stepped in to help this victim in Vineyard car park, your willingness to do the right thing is appreciated by every officer.”

Essex Police say five people have been charged in connection with the theft probe. 

Victor Chavez Gutierrez, 37, of Stroud Green Road, London; Jhon Brayan Alvarez Quiroga, 25, of no fixed address; Martha Gutierrez, 44, of no fixed address; Catherine Olarte-Avendano, 37, of Montagu Road, London and Gallardo Guillermo, 69, of no fixed address, have been charged with theft from a motor vehicle.

They will appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on Monday.