Stoke gold shop trickster has previous - 236 miles away in Sussex

A 'gold swap hustler' caught on CCTV tricking a pawnbroker into buying fake gold has struck previously at a jewellers - 236 miles away from The Potteries. The suspect was last month filmed targeting Paul Wood, 58, at Church Street Gold Pottery and Furniture, in Stoke, where he swapped a bag of real gold for fake bullion and escaped with £1,765.

Two months earlier, the same smartly-dressed man swooped at Ashley Adams Jewellers, in Hailsham. Using a similar technique, he first pretended to be selling gold pendants to the store owner who agreed to pay him £1,100 after inspecting the jewellery.

The man then managed to swap the bag containing 18ct gold to one with "two lumps of brass" inside using sleight of hand in a move again captured on CCTV. In a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, he can be seen holding his phone before switching the bags as he flips his mobile between his left and right hand. He then left the jewellers before the store owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, realised she had been conned when she got to the back office and opened the bag.

READ: Fraudsters who fled Stoke pawn shop in fake gold con caught on CCTV - Paul Wood was left devastated after being tricked into buying fake bullion bars

READ: Pawnbroker robbed EIGHT times warns 'criminals are getting away with it’ - Stoke shopkeeper Paul Wood - from Church Street Gold, Pottery and Furniture - has slammed Staffordshire Police's response to his latest crime

She said: "This man came in and offered to sell me a couple of pharaoh head pendants. I had a look at them and confirmed they were 18ct after doing a machine and acid test and agreed to pay him £1,100.

CCTV at Church Street Gold Pottery and Furniture -Credit:SWNS
CCTV at Church Street Gold Pottery and Furniture -Credit:SWNS

"It was a similar technique but he used a sort of net bag, he takes it in his right hand and gives it back to me with his left and I ended up with two lumps of brass. I noticed almost immediately once I'd walked into the back office as the little gauze bag was tied very tightly, too tightly. I called 999 in case officers were in the area but nothing ever came of it.

"The next day I had an email from Safergems, which is a crime initiative in the jewellery industry, to say he had struck elsewhere. If I'd only had that email the day before it might have been a different outcome. But I hate looking back at the footage as it's so obvious what happens, and how he does it. Hindsight is a wonderful thing."

Sussex Police and Staffordshire Police are investigating the two incidents.

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

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