The growing threat of fraud to the channel community was highlighted this week when police were unable to help catch a suspected conman because they were too busy staking out another computer thief.
High Wycombe reseller, Computer Modelling, was contacted by a company called Brandon Computer Services, which placed an order for ten PCs costing more than £4,000.
The conman agreed to pay by cash for next-day-delivery to an address in South East London. He faxed over a deposit slip counterfoil as proof the money had been paid into the reseller's account. But suspicions were raised when the reseller contacted the bank and was told the payment had been made by cheque.
Police confirmed the cheque, in the name of a Mr S Wallis, was written from a fraudulent account which had been used 'dozens of times'. They said they had received a report that day from a Liverpool dealership which had been approached by the same bogus company.
Computer Modelling MD David Lovelock decided to set a trap for the thieves and arranged for the delivery to go ahead, expecting the police to be on standby to arrest whoever signed for the equipment.
He said: 'We gave the police the information necessary to make an arrest but they said they couldn't do it due to lack of manpower.'
Reporting officer WPC Folkes of Lewisham police, said: 'We are seeing a spate of this kind of crime at the moment. CID were informed of Mr Lovelock's plan but could not provide officers as they were conducting another 'controlled delivery' involving a computer company.'
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