Hackney motorists preyed upon by fake oil leak scam artists
PUBLISHED: 17:29 03 December 2012
Motorists are being preyed upon by a scam artist who is swindling them out of money for a non-existent car problem, it has been claimed.
Drivers in Homerton are allegedly stopped by a man who claims they have oil coming out of their car.
The conman is accused of sneakily spilling oil on their cars as he comes round to speak to them, before directing them to a garage for repairs that do not need doing.
An elderly victim came forward this week after being targeted for the second time, while staff at a car parts shop say customers regularly complain of being duped by the ruse.
Retired civil servant Peter Lyons, 70, of Homerton, was flagged down by a middle-aged man on Sunday night while he was driving along Homerton High Street.
He said: “A man started gesturing and pointing to my car. As he came round to speak to me, he told me I had oil and water coming out of my car.”
He recognised the man as having stopped him two years ago with the same problem.
Mr Lyons said: “The same guy stopped me, told me about the problem and recommended a garage. When I got there, they banged around under my car and then charged me £30 to £40 for fixing the problem.
“This time I threatened to cut off his legs and he ran off.
“For someone like me it’s not much money, but for a young mother who does not have much money, it’s a big deal. Afterwards I spoke to a few friends, and they said it had happened to them.”
Tony Barrett, a manager at Braydon Motor Company in Downs Road, Clapton, said: “We have had at least a couple of customers per month who have said that they have been a victim of this oil scam.
“It’s horrendous. Most of them have been approached in supermarket car parks in Hackney and Highbury.
“It’s causing a lot of stress for them thinking they have an oil leak. They’ve had their cars towed here because they’re afraid to start it up.
“You can imagine how many victims there must be as we are one out of around 400 garages in Hackney.
“It’s worrying people a lot. It’s a shame they don’t photograph the person who’s offering to help.”
Mr Lyons described the man as slim, of medium height and aged about 50 to 60. He was wearing a blue anorak and carrying a shopping bag, which may contain oil.
A spokesman for Hackney Police said: “If you are approached by this person, please contact 101.”