Hackney Police hunt ‘archetypal con artist’ who has struck at 20 different businesses

Suspect: Costas Christoforou. Picture: Met Police

Suspect: Costas Christoforou. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

Hackney Police are seeking an “archetypal con artist’ in connection with 20 different offences.

Costas Christoforou, 60, is believed to have targeted restaurants, pubs, an estate agent, a West End clothes shop, a florist and a cinema.

In each case he is believed to have spoken to staff purporting to have carried out work for the owner, or that he requires payment for goods that he had delivered. Often pretending to speak to the owner on the phone, he asks for cash, which is handed over.

A number of different identities have been used, ranging from a mechanic, delivery driver and on one occasion a technician.

In one incident, CCTV footage from February 22 shows the suspect walking into a restaurant in Hoxton and approaching a female waitress, informing her he had a delivery of shelves.

He then re-enters the venue holding his mobile phone to his ear, giving the impression he is talking to the owner of the shop. He mentions the manager’s name which gains her confidence. He even uses a pen and paper to work out ‘the cost of the items’

The suspect then asks for £225 for the delivery of the items, which the waitress takes from the till and hands over. He leaves telling her that he would return with the delivery, but he fails to do so and she alerts the police.

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Christoforu is described as a white man, 5’10” tall, of slim build with short grey hair that has a bald patch on top. He only has two top teeth. During his most recent offence he had a pencil moustache.

He has links to Hackney, Haringey, Enfield and Islington.

Det Insp Paul Ridley, from Hackney Police, said: “He is the archetypal con artist, using a proven method to defraud with several guises and exuding confidence – even laughing with his unsuspecting victims.’

“The suspect almost always targets small independent businesses and clearly researches the senior employees, on several occasions being able to name the managers, and brazenly pretending to be talking to them on the phone, providing a degree of legitimacy to his account.

“It is crucial that we trace this prolific offender before he commits any further offences. It must be remembered that he has shamelessly fraudulently obtained many thousands of pounds. I believe he may have struck at further venues across the south-east and would encourage victims to come forward.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Hackney Police on 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org