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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.

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.

“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.

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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.

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