Moore is finally cleared, 33 years after arrest over stolen bracelet

Phil Shaw
Friday 07 March 2003 01:00

A whodunnit that has kept people guessing for three decades has been solved after a fashion, finally clearing the late Bobby Moore, beyond any lingering doubt, of stealing a bracelet in Bogota before he led the defence of England's World Cup in 1970.

Moore's most difficult opponent that summer was not Pele or Gerd Müller, but the Colombian police who arrested him on suspicion of theft and held him for four days on the eve of the finals in Mexico. His was released only after the intervention of the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, yet the case has remained a mystery.

Now, Government documents released by the Public Record Office have revealed that the British Embassy was told within weeks of the allegations against Moore that police knew the thief was a woman. The £600, diamond-encrusted jewellery had, in the words of an Embassy official, "been hawked around the underworld".

The saga began after Moore and another unlikely shoplifter, Bobby Charlton, browsed for gifts to take home in a hotel shop called Fuego Verde. After they had strolled out, alarm bells sounded, police were called and a female assistant walked up to the players, pointed and said: "Him and him."

According to a letter from the Embassy to the Foreign Office in June, four days after Moore's legendary display against Brazil, police had established unspecified "suspicious circumstances" and hoped to make an arrest. The Colombian authorities also pledged to pursue the now-discredited witnesses who "fingered" Moore.

Moore, who died of cancer 10 years ago last week, was never prosecuted and went on to become England's outstanding player in their failed attempt to retain their title. His innocence was never in doubt in Britain, but the question of who framed him, and why, will continue to attract conspiracy theorists.

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