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DC Amanda Carver from the specialist crime unit of Wiltshire Police told ATG that her investigation led to the four being charged on November 17, 2011, with conspiracy to defraud.

ATGNo 1965 described how widespread fraud, involving telephone bids on diamond jewellery lots and high-value watches, was thought to have affected established regional salerooms in Derbyshire, Wiltshire, Avon, Sussex, Berkshire, Shropshire and London in October 2010.

Those charged are Simohamed Rahmoun, 30, of Wellesley Road, London (two offences); Barbara Ursula Goossens, 60, of Colney Hatch Lane, London (one offence); Farouk Dougui, 39, of Charlton Park Road, London (two offences); and Jabey Alan Bathurst, 23, of Brook Close, Ruislip, Middlesex (two offences).

All were released on bail and are due to appear at Swindon Crown Court on April 20 for a plea and directions hearing.

Charges relate to a series of fraudulent transactions for a number of auction houses, and electrical goods and car parts.