Pawnbroker robbed EIGHT times warns 'criminals are getting away with it’

A pawnbroker left £1,765 out of pocket by two thieves has slammed police - after only being given a cop shop appointment for nine days after the crime. Paul Wood has CCTV of the two tricksters inside Church Street Gold, Pottery and Furniture, in Stoke, last Thursday.

But he says Staffordshire Police have told him to go to Longton Police Station at 8am on Saturday, June 29 for a pre-arranged appointment. He says the only other alternative was for police to go to his Church Street shop within the next six weeks.

It is the eighth time the shop has been targeted by thieves and burglars - and follows an arson attack earlier this month. The latest crime saw the two tricksters receive £1,765 in exchange for gold - before swapping the real gold for fake gold and then fleeing.

READ: Stoke pawn shop £1.7k out of pocket in fake gold scam - Staffordshire Police are hunting for two 'large' tricksters

READ: Desperate Stokies selling fillings from their teeth to pay heating bills - Paul Wood says he's had customers in tears parting with sentimental family treasures

Paul said: “A pair of Eastern Europeans came in to sell gold. They gave me a bag of nine-carat, which is general scrap, and we agreed on a price. They said they had more, but thought ‘I don’t want that because it doesn’t look right’. Then they’ve somehow swapped the bag of real gold for the bag of the tat - they’d tied the bag really tight and I had to open it with a knife.

“It was some sleight of hand or whatever he’s done to swap the bags, so they’ve taken £1,765 and the gold as well. I have clear footage on my camera, they were in the shop for about 20 minutes. I never took my eyes off him, I watched him and somehow he managed to pull the wool over my eyes, I don’t know how he’s done it.

“They could be living in the area or they could have come here on a day trip and planned to rob 10 shops. I know I won’t get the money back but it could stop them from stealing from someone else.

"I rang the police and their attitude was they’d come and see me within six weeks or I could go to an appointment at Longton Police Station at 8am on June 29. Criminals are getting away with things because the police are too busy and something needs to be done.

"I’ve had eight burglaries, it happens all the time around here. Last week someone tried setting fire to the shop in broad daylight, the police are yet to come, and it took them an hour-and-a-half to answer the phone. A bike was stolen from outside another shop and the police are yet to come. The charity shop was targeted and the police are yet to come. The Salvation Army windows were kicked in and the police are yet to come.”

Staffordshire Police have failed to respond to Paul's criticism.

The thieving man and woman struck at around 11am on Thursday, June 20.

A police spokesman said: "We are investigating following reports of fake gold being used in exchange for cash. A man and a woman came into Church Street Gold to exchange gold for cash. In-between the transaction, the suspects swapped the gold for fakes and left the store.

“The man is described as being of a large build with black hair shaved at the side, a black goatee beard, and was wearing a suit. The woman is also of a large build, was wearing a matching suit, had long straight dark hair that was tied back, and white trainers that had a red heel."

Any witnesses should call the police on 101, quoting incident number 396 of 20 June, or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

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