Scammer flogged second-rate perfume as Hugo Boss and Victoria Beckham at mock auction in Kingsland High Street
- Credit: Archant
A prolific wheeler-dealer and his goons staged a scam auction in Dalston flogging his second-rate perfume under the guise of high-end cologne by the likes of Hugo Boss and Victoria Beckham.
Tony Smith set up shop in a disused unit in Kingsland High Street last week to rip off locals with his low-budget production.
But his antics caused a stink with a passer-by, who complained to Trading Standards. Officers then caught him on CCTV and went undercover to buy a bottle of his tawdry scent.
He was using stooges “dressed as members of the public” to get the crowd going – throwing them freebies while they made “enthusiastic purchases in order to get the crowd interested.”
Officers wrote in an unusually colourful report: “Smith was using massively overinflated recommended retail prices in order to show a dramatic reduction in price, to make the perfume seem like an unmissable bargain.
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“He was failing to display his business ownership details and when Trading Standards attempted to verify his identity Smith proceeded to obstruct officers by providing them with a fictitious name and address.”
Trading Standards workers identified Smith as a prolific offender who had repeatedly shown a “fragrant” disregard for the law. He had previously been prosecuted for organising mock auctions and used various aliases and addresses.
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Smith was confronted days later. The report states: “We issued clear advice to Smith on his misleading use of stooges, misleading pricing, fraudulent verbal misdescriptions and his absence of business ownership details.”
There was no Brut force needed, though, and on Monday he was seen “suddenly removing his possessions and stock” from the unit. The landlord has now placed security guards there to stop Smith, who was squatting, from coming back.
Trading Standards believed he could have been planning to use the basement of the shop for future mock auctions, as he had recently taken a delivery of “powerful floodlights”.
He has also been given a formal warning telling him he will face enforcement action or an Enterprise Act Injunction if he repeats any of the “dishonest trading practices” he was caught doing.
Hackney’s crime chief Cllr Caroline Selman said: “Not only was this man ripping off Hackney residents, he was undermining legitimate local businesses.
“Fake auctions and counterfeit goods have no place on our high streets, so in the build up to Christmas I would ask residents to be extra vigilant and let us know of anything suspicious so our Trading Standards officers can investigate.”