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Over a matter of days, and at least three fine art salerooms, ‘refer to drawer’ cheques were issued on a NatWest bank account in the name of Paul M. Levenston trading as Canterbury jeweller Glinton Mint. Mr Levenston, who police are describing as a suspicious trader, was also refused custom on two other occasions after an alert was issued by the investigating officer.

Purchasing predominately silver and jewellery, and spending between £600-1100 in each saleroom, Mr Levenston first hit Great Dunmow saleroom Mullucks Wells.

He had successfully purchased goods in the Essex rooms on two occasions earlier in the year but a cheque for £700 issued after a sale in mid-July was returned by the bank on three occasions. A second cheque written on the Glinton Mint business account bounced twice more, although Mr Levenston continued to bid substantial sums at other fine art sales.

On August 3 Mr Levenston wrote a cheque for just over £600 at Reeman Dansie of Colchester before moving to Thomas Gaze & Son of Diss where he spent close to £1100 on August 6.

His modus operandi on this occasion was interesting: having consigned two low value lots to the Norfolk rooms (and accordingly a client on their books), he pursuaded the saleroom to flout their usual practices and part with the merchandise before a cheque had cleared.

Having made multiple purchases at Neal Sons & Fletcher of Woodbridge on August 11, Mr Levenston was asked to produce banker’s references to support an £800 cheque. To date he has not returned with supporting documentation or cash payment.

Having received a warning from IO Ernie Cole, a special point of contact for art and antiques crime in the Suffolk area, both Lacy Scott of Bury St Edmunds and Horners of Acle in Norfolk refused to accept bids from Mr Levenston.

A number of the victims have begun legal proceedings against Mr Levenston while police are continuing with their enquiries. Any information should be directed to IO Ernie Cole at Suffolk FIB on 01473 613616.