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Crime

Horsham’s fake Facebook seller brought to justice

31-year-old Cerise Evans was found to be selling items like fake Rayban sunglasses and Ugg boots under the name ‘Pinky Smith’.

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A woman from Horsham who sold fake designer goods on Facebook has been brought to justice following an investigation by West Sussex Trading Standards.

Cerise Evans, 31 (Oakhill Road, Horsham) has been issued with a 12 month community order involving 120 hours of unpaid work.

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Trading Standards received complaints in October and December 2016 that Evans was selling counterfeit items on Facebook under the name ‘Pinky Smith.’

An officer made a test purchase of Ugg boots and Rayban sunglasses in May 2017.

These were confirmed as fakes.

A warrant was then granted to enter Evans’ home and counterfeit goods including Ugg boots, Rolex watches and Michael Kors bags, were seized.

Letters were also found from Surrey and Buckinghamshire Trading Standards services warning her against the sale of fake goods in 2015 and 2016.

Debbie Kennard, Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said:

“I would like to thank our Trading Standards service for bringing this individual to justice.

“Deceiving people into buying fake items is a serious offence that hurts both innocent buyers and legitimate businesses.

“I hope this outcome will deter anyone tempted to sell fake, branded goods in West Sussex.”

Trading Standards Team Manager Richard Sargeant added:

“We are committed to stopping the sale of fake goods in our county and will pursue anyone undertaking this illegal activity.”

Anyone who thinks they have been a victim of an unfair trading practice can contact Trading Standards via Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06 or online at: www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport

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Crawley Council warns of rise of conmen knocking on doors across town

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The message is very clear – Be scam aware!

Crawley Borough Council is warning residents to be scam aware following a rise in reports of conmen knocking on doors.

The council has recently received reports of two different scams, where residents are asked to pay thousands of pounds up front for work that isn’t needed or shouldn’t cost anywhere near that amount.

In the first scam, a group of men were knocking on residents’ doors claiming to be from a boiler company and saying that they had been sent to check on boilers.

This happened to a resident in Bewbush, who was told their boiler needed to be fixed at a cost of £4,000, which he was told to withdraw from his bank without telling anyone. This particular tenant was vulnerable but fortunately the bank staff knew him well and questioned why he was withdrawing such a large amount of money.

His support worker was then notified and the incident was reported to the police. Additional security measures have been put in place for this tenant.

The second scam was reported in Gossops Green, where a resident was scammed for fencing at a cost of £3,500. This was reported to the police and fortunately the cheque was cancelled before the scammers got their money.

Scams come in many different forms and not just on the doorstep. Other scams include emails, phone calls and text messages. We are encouraging tenants to be extra careful when buying products or services online or in person.

Some of the signs to look out for include:

*             You are asked to pay money up front, for example to cover delivery costs or to ‘release funds’

*             You have ‘won a prize’ in a lottery or competition you have never heard of, much less entered

*             You are pressurised or hurried into making a decision – e.g. told to ‘act now’ as the price will go up if you don’t buy immediately

*             You are told to not tell anyone else about it – for example ‘it’s an exclusive deal only for you’

*             Unsolicited emails, phone calls, text messages or letters

*             Emails from sources you don’t recognise that include attached documents or other files

*             Emails that appear to be from your bank, HMRC or another trustworthy source that ask you to reveal personal data, such as your account details.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council, said:

“There will always be a small number of people who seek to take advantage of others, but we can protect ourselves from scams by taking a little extra time to check people are who they claim to be.”

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