Tesco gets in to the gold trade

Tesco hopes to mine new ground with the launch of a service allowing customers to swap their unwanted gold jewellery for cash.

The retailer began trialling its Gold Exchange online and in about 15 stores in November.

Tesco said it developed the service, which is traditionally associated with pawnbrokers and specialists, as a response to the strong price of gold.

Under the fledgling scheme, those over 18 can apply for a gold pack and send off their unwanted or damaged gold jewellery in a prepaid Royal Mail special delivery bag via their local Post Office or in participating Tesco Extra stores. The packet is insured up to £500.

Once the items have been valued, customers will receive an offer letter or email stating the proposed price for the gold items.

If they wish to go ahead, payment is made directly into the customer's bank account.

On its website, Tesco pledged to pay £7.81 per gram (£221 an ounce) of nine carat gold, with acceptable items including earrings, bracelets, necklaces, bangles and rings.

A Tesco spokesman said: "Customers have been poorly served in this area so we're pleased that we can trial a trustworthy service that is transparent and offers market-leading value."