News

Flop fraudster foiled by vigilant subpostmaster

10 November 2017

A vigilant subpostmaster in the Scottish Borders has foiled a would-be scammer who tried to swindle him out of hundreds of pounds.

Thanks to the watchfulness of postmaster Aumir Javed the scammer failed in his ‘distraction theft’ attempt at the High Street branch on Friday, October 27.

CCTV footage from the branch shows a man hand over 900 Euros to the cashier and ask for it to be changed into Sterling.

Mr Javed took the Euros then passed £790 under the security screen to the customer, who then claimed he had changed his mind and asked for the Euros to be returned.

The video, which has been viewed thousands of times on YouTube, then shows the customer pick up the UK bank notes with his right hand before he quickly moves a bundle of them into his left hand.

He then returns the Sterling in his right hand to Mr Javed – in the apparent hope that the postmaster won’t notice that he has taken a sneaky ‘cut’ for himself.

But when Mr Javed starts to count the returned money, the man places the notes he had attempted to conceal – about £300 – on the counter.

The would-be fraudster then left – but without his original Euros.

And Mr Javed, who has worked at the town’s Post Office for more than a decade, told local paper The East Lothian Courier : “He had asked me for English notes and then he said something about posting them to someone, which I thought was a bit strange.

“Then when he asked for the money back, I started counting it and then I noticed the money on the counter.

“That’s when I realised what was going on, so I tried to walk away and pretended to phone the police.

“He didn’t leave so I thought, ‘Right, I’m really going to have to phone them’.

“I wasn’t scared, it was more just adrenaline as I was working on my own at the time.

“I’ve been here 11 years and I’ve never seen anything like that before.

“We are told about things like this, but they are more common in big branches, not ones like this.”

As well as contacting the police, Mr Javed posted a video of the incident online to alert others. His actions have been praised on community website group North Berwick News.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police in East Lothian are asking business owners to be vigilant after an attempted distraction theft from a business premises in North Berwick.

"Anyone with information or who witnesses similar suspicious behaviour is asked to contact police immediately.”