By Nafisat Ishola
A STANFORD jeweller is warning drivers to be aware, as a roadside scam has surfaced, which sees drivers exchanging cash for worthless rings.
Owner of Stanfords Jewellery in Kings Street, Stanford-le-Hope, Paul Murchie, 41, said he has become accustomed to people coming into his shop wanting an exchange in their jewellery for cash.
He said: “ It’s something that’s been going on for a long time, people come in with two or three types of rings. They’re like signet rings, they’ve got facets on the top and its got a diamond cut pattern on them. They always look the same they’ve always got an 18-carat or 750 stamp on the top of the head.
“It’s quite common, someone at the side of the road flags someone down, needs some petrol. You would be surprised with the amount of people that do stop. I’ve had three people in the last two months, but I’ve seen these rings for the last 15-16 years. “
The owner of Town Centre Jewellers in Corringham is a friend of Murchie, he has also been familiar with these scams.
In a conversation they had he said “As soon as they get them out of their pocket, they go ‘how much are these worth?’ You got stopped on the motorway for some petrol did you. ‘They go how did you know?’ He replies “Your not the first and your not going to be the last.”
“The second person that came in he had a handful, he gave the guy on the roadside about £300. Because he saw they were all 18-carat – his eyes must have lit up.” The fraudster had claimed he was desperate for money and he had several rings
Awareness of this scam proliferated, as the lady that originally reported this incident – who didn’t want to be named, felt distraught and was straight on the phone to the authorities.
Mr Murchie said the lady refused to take anything off the fraudster when he said he was in need for petrol. He pleaded for more money for an exchange for more jewellery.
Paul said: “The problem with this scam is it stops the generous people from helping other people out. People are quite kind.”
Murchie advises: “ I would advise anyone not to hand over cash at the side of the road. Go and buy them some petrol and tell them you’ll pop back with a petrol can – but don’t hand over cash at the side of the road. Even offer to make a phone call for somebody – who hasn’t got a mobile these days. “