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Officers visited the home of Richard Curley, 49, in connection with a different matter, when Staffordshire Police dog Krillin detected the plastic box.
The distinctive costume jewellery and a gold ring, which were worth £35,000, had been stolen from a flat in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., in 2010.
Curley claimed he came by the jewellery innocently and denied handling the stolen goods which were discovered buried under the extension at his home.
But he was convicted after a trial at North Staffordshire Justice Centre last month.
Curley, of Brown Edge, Staffs., was spared jail when he was handed a 15-month sentence, suspended for two years, at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on Thursday.
He was also handed 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £340 costs as well as £500 compensation to his victim.
Sentencing, Recorder Sally Hancox said: "You were aware the victim had suffered a burglary at her home.
"At some point after September 9, 2010 you came into possession of a number of items.
"It must have been at the forefront of your mind.
"You kept them, you stored them and hid them.
"It was only when police came to your premises that the items were found by a police dog.
"Bearing in mind your dishonesty record over many years it does cross the custody threshold.
"But since 2006 you have not been before the courts. There has been a clear slowing down of your offending behaviour as you have reached more mature years.
"It is clear the victim has lost out financially and emotionally by reason of your unlawful behaviour."
The court heard the victim was the occupier of a shop and flat in Burslem which was burgled in 2010.
Prosecutor Geoffrey Dann said the offenders escaped with £2,300 cash, a large amount of distinctive costume jewellery and her late husband's gold ring
He added: "In October 2016 police had cause to attend the defendant's home address.
"He was arrested for another matter which has not resulted in any charges.
"But his premises were searched and a dog sniffed out and found, buried under an extension, a plastic box containing a large amount of jewellery.
"It was shown to the victim and she informed officers it was some of the jewellery stolen from her premises six years previously.
"She was not unsurprisingly emotionally affected by being reunited with her lost jewellery.
"But she said the gold rings were not there."
The court heard Curley told police he found the items in the victim's shop when he took over some years later.
Paul Cliff, defending, said Curley was able to carry out unpaid work and urged the judge to hand him a suspended sentence.