A SOUTHAMPTON woman has appeared in court after allegedly stealing £30,000 worth of jewellery from a Hampshire home.

Clair Smith admitted stealing jewellery from a home in Brockenhurst between December last year and April this year - but says the amount stolen is closer to £1,000.

The 48-year-old appeared at Southampton Crown Court on Friday to plead guilty to the theft – on the basis of the lower figure.

Prosecutors rejected the basis of plea and said a Newton hearing was required in order to allow the court to sentence her.

A Newton hearing is used where the two sides offer such conflicting evidence that a judge tries to work out which party is telling the truth from the evidence provided.

It does not require the use of a jury.

The hearing, which is expected to last no longer than a day, is due to take place on December 20.

Smith, of Butts Crescent, Southampton, is expected to be sentenced after the conclusion of the hearing.

She was released on unconditional bail until her next court appearance.