FOLLOWING the recent report about cheque fraud in July on Portobello Road and Westbourne Grove, additional incidents have emerged of suspected fraud around London using cheques under the account name GC Commodity’s (sic).
The man, who claimed his name was Mr Crumb or Crump, has since targeted antiques shops in Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Kensington Church Street, using cheques issued by Santander, 21 Prescott Street, London E1 8TN. He has been described as a well-dressed, dark-haired, middle-aged white male of medium build, with a foreign accent, possibly Spanish. He can be seen in the CCTV image printed here.
A Chelsea LAPADA member accepted a £2000 cheque from the man, which has since been returned 'Payment Stopped'.
Another LAPADA member based in London SW3 took payment for a painting from the man, who again used a company cheque for GC Commodity's. Again, payment was stopped.
Knightsbridge jewellers McKenna & Co. were also targeted on August 22, but declined a cheque for £1350. The man said he would come back with a credit card. Michael McKenna immediately phoned local jewellers to warn them, but within minutes the man had visited a neighbouring store and succeeded in paying with a fraudulent cheque.
Mr McKenna reported a number of warning signs that led him to reject the cheque:
• The man spelt his name as Crumb on the sales invoice, but the debit card he presented to back up his cheque was in the name of Crump.
• The account holder on the cheque was G.C. Commodity's - Commodities would have been the correct spelling.
• He gave a false, incomplete address for the invoice and didn't know his postcode.
• He had no business card available when asked.
• He used the debit card to 'back up' his cheque, rather than for the purchase itself.
• The signature on the cheque was different from that on the debit card.