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'Bargain' laptop offer warning by police

Police in Southwark are warning members of the public to be on the alert for anyone seeking to sell electrical items in a hurry.

It appears the tactic is being specifically targeted at students. Typically, two white men in a vehicle pull up outside or near to a university or college. They strike up conversation with someone and show electrical goods, normally a laptop computer in a laptop case in the rear seat or boot. They say they need a quick sale because of financial restraints.

To convince the public that the laptop was bought legitimately, a receipt is
shown to verify the amount paid for the laptop and supposedly where it was
bought. Then a price is negotiated, ranging from 60 to 200.

In some cases, the purchaser is given a lift to a nearby cashpoint to
withdraw money. Once the money is handed over, a laptop case or other
package is given to the member of the public and the vendors leave.

However, when it is opened, victims discover they have paid for a bag of potatoes, instead of a laptop.

DS Jane Corrigan of Walworth CID said: "There have been four linked incidents in the last two weeks in Southwark. There may be more and if you think you have been a victim, please contact us and we will treat your call in the strictest confidence.

"If you are approached in this way, we would advise you to decline politely
but ensure you contact us, or Crimestoppers, as soon as possible. If it sounds too good to be true, then it generally is."

• The number to ring with any information is Walworth CID on 020 7232 6277 or if you wish to remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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