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Preston, Penwortham and Tarleton cafe owners warn over ‘refund conman’ reported to police

Posted on - 27th January, 2021 - 8:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Crime, Food & Drink, Lancashire Police, Preston Locations, Preston News, South Ribble News, Takeaways
CCTV picture of Preston con-man. Pic: The Cow Shed
CCTV picture of a man cafe owners claim try to trick them. Pic: The Cow Shed

A man has been reportedly targeting businesses in Preston and Penwortham trying to get refunds for items he has not purchased.

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Multiple businesses say they have been approached by the man asking for money back for items such as food and flowers.

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It is thought that the man has visited some businesses previously acting as a pest controller before returning acting as an unhappy customer.

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Louise Sey, Owner of Ravenous café said: “[The man] came in and complained that there was a long hair in his breakfast and demanded his money back even though he had no evidence, no receipt or anything.

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“He came in first and said he was a pest controller and wanted £45 to spray the back of my shop. [He] became aggressive and bothered that I said no then stormed out.

She claimed: “He’s conning people that are trying hard to keep afloat and who are vulnerable. He took £12 off me which is sometimes my daily takings at the moment.

“He’s also conned up to 50 other places that I know of: florists, opticians, cafés, kebab shops, restaurants, the list goes on.”

It is also thought that the majority of businesses that have been targeted are female-owned.

Read more: Offenders who target vulnerable victims in South Ribble brought to justice by Operation Chastity

A spokesperson from Boskin’s café said: “[The man] has been here and he said there was a hair in his sandwiches the day before. He said he came back but we were shut and he wanted a refund so stupidly I gave him a refund.

“Once he left I didn’t have a good feeling about it and then at night I saw a cafe posting about it and immediately knew it was the same guy.

“I called the police reported it but the lady said they can’t do anything and she could make a log about it but she said it was worthless so I gave up and just contacted all businesses I knew here in Tarleton.”

Many businesses are not operating at full capacity at the moment as a result of coronavirus restrictions.

Cafés and restaurants are only allowed to operate as takeaway services.

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Lancashire police say they are aware of the incidents.

Lancashire Police’s business crime unit said: “It has come to our attention there is a male visiting business with a complaint in regards to a product in hope for a refund even though he has never purchased anything in the days prior. A reminder to be vigilant when issuing refunds.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 quoting reference LC-20210123-0739.

Read more:Latest news and updates from Blog Preston

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