Cleaning bill fraudster strikes across the UK

14 December 2004 by
Cleaning bill fraudster strikes across the UK

Restaurants as far apart as Scotland and Sussex have emerged as the latest targets of a nationwide cleaning bill scam first reported in Caterer last month.

Potential victims receive a faxed dry cleaning bill for £17.99 from a customer claiming his suit had been stained by a spilt drink. The letter gives the name of a Liverpool

Don't be fooled: the infamous bill
company called Unicorn Trading. The two Scottish targets were 63 Tay Street in Perth and La PotiniŠre in Gullane, East Lothian. Keith Marley, a partner in La PotiniŠre, was suspicious and contacted his local police. "They are silly trying this scam on small restaurants who keep an eye on what they are doing - they would more easily slip this through a bigger chain," he said. PC Scott Robertson, at North Berwick police station, said he knew of at least seven restaurants that had been affected, but believed there were "probably many more". The fraudsters also targeted the Glasshouse restaurant at Ambleside in the Lake District, which, unusually, managed to contact the fax-sender, only to be given two dates for the incident, both at times the restaurant was shut. Further south, fraudulent bills were sent to the Leaping Hare caf‚ at the Wyken Vineyard in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, and to the Griffin Inn at Fletching in East Sussex. Merseyside Police said it was receiving faxes about the scam from police forces around the country and had last week tried to contact someone at the Unicorn Trading address but found there was nobody on the premises. Other potential victims have already come to light in North Yorkshire, South Wales, Gloucestershire and Leicestershire.
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