Sutton Police officers are advising shopkeepers to beware of a scam involving a £50 counterfeit note, which has happened at shopping parades in the borough over the last two weeks.
The male trickster, who poses as a customer, uses a counterfeit £50 note to buy goods of a much lower value. He then receives change from a shop assistant and departs - pocketing both the goods and the cash.
One offence took place at The Lemon Tree, High Street, Cheam, on Thursday 22nd January at around 3.30pm. The ‘customer’ entered speaking loudly on his phone about a large win he'd just had at the bookies. He then used the forged note to buy items to the value of £12.95. Police enquiries have revealed that a customer also tried unsuccessfully to use the same scam at a neighbouring shop a few months earlier. The suspect was described as a white man, 6ft tall and of heavy build with a baldhead.
On Friday 16th January about 3.00pm a male customer tried to use a forged note at Sean Hanna hairdressers, Central Road, Worcester Park. However, staff became suspicious and the customer left. Enquires led officers to reveal that the scam had been used successfully in at least two other shops. The suspect was described as a white male, aged 30-35, about 6ft tall, of heavy build, with short dark brown hair, wearing blue round neck jumper and grey tracksuit bottoms.
Officers from the local Safer Neighbourhoods Teams have visited local shops and stores to tell them about the scam and to encourage them to use their UV pens, which may detect forgeries. A handy guide to checking bank notes called ‘Take a closer look’ can be found on the Bank of England website: www.bankofengland.co.uk