back to article Spuds for laptop fraudsters strike in Huntingdon

The potatoes for laptop bait-and-switch fraudsters have been at it again, relieving a couple in Huntingdon of £650 in exchange for a bag of spuds and a few bits of cardboard. BBC Cambridgeshire reports that the unfortunate couple were approached in Huntington High Street last week by a man supposedly punting a second-hand …


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  1. irish donkey

    Outstanding ....................

    Try and buy a stolen laptop. Deserve everything you get!


    1. Ancient Oracle funkie


      Could someone let me know who this couple is?

      I've a few shares and a London bridge I'm trying to sell.

      FAIL - to anyone who buys anything from "a bloke on the street"

    2. Lionel Baden

      not exactly !!

      there is absolutley no proof it is stolen !!!

      But mind you i happened to say No when a white van pulled up and somebody went "Oi geezer you wanna cheap plasma ?? good for christmas if ya like 42" .

      Very tempted to call the police but then i remembered they probably couldnt give a toss. and even if they could give a toss current laws probably wouldnt allow them to pull them over because they could then Sue.

      God im depressed now.....

      1. Anonymous John

        Youd have been correct.

        I did phone them five years ago over two men in a van with plasma TVs for sale. Even gave the the registration number. Very little interest and they did nothing.

        If a few bricks in a cardboard box isn't "going equipped to cheat", what is?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    A fool and his money...

    To go to a bank machine, withdraw and give £650 to a dodgy "on the street" laptop seller is beyond me.

    I mean, it it was £100 or so I could kind of understand them (ignoring the moral or legal standpoints) chancing their arm on a cheap machine with no history and no guarantees, but £650???

    You can walk into any high street electronics shop and get a pretty decent brand new legit machine these days for that type of money!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      650 quid?!

      Hell, in the US, we can get a half decen laptop for somewhere around 180 quid, if memory serves on the exchange rate. The equivalent of 650 is getting up to quad core 8gb 1+tb + bluray levels.

  3. Lottie


    ... how can anyone be so daft as to agree to buy a laptop from some random bloke in the street?

    I mean REALLY?

    Mind you, I want to help the couple get their money back. I'm a nigerian general with a deposit box containing £10,000 and need assistance.....

    1. Will Shaw


      I wouldn't get out of bed for less than $100,000,000 USD.......

  4. Anonymous Coward

    What muppet

    buys something worth £650 of a guy in the street (not even a guy down the pub).

    The sort of muppet that then advertises their idiocy by reporting it to the police.

  5. Nick 10


    Who on earth buys an obviously stolen laptop for £650? You could buy a decent spec new one, with a box and warranty for that.

  6. Code Monkey

    Sorry you got ripped off but...

    ...buying a laptop in the street, or down the pub for that matter, is fncking stupid. Don't do it.

  7. Elmer Phud

    How much?

    second hand?


    WTF was it supposed to be?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Blimey - you can buy a pretty good new one for that.

    Still, as someone who has lived quite close by, I'm not surprised.

  9. LuMan

    Don't worry

    With all those potatoes you can make chips for a new laptop!!!


  10. Alan B

    £650 for a second hand laptop?

    Gullible doesn't even begin to describe them. Who in their right minds would pay that amount even if it was a legitimate deal?

  11. N2

    How utterly daft

    To buy something that expensive in the street

    At least they can eat the spuds

  12. dotdavid


    "Try and buy a stolen laptop. Deserve everything you get!"

    Well that as may be, but I doubt the fraudsters come up to you and say it was stolen. You're much more likely to be offered a second hand, or surplus, or ex display model or somesuch laptop.

    But £650? You can get a new one for that!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Laptop for 650 quid????

    Aside from questioning why this bloke is selling it in the street, why on earth did they pay 650 quid for a second hand laptop ? Also which cash machines allow you take 650 quid out?

    This story has holes. Also people are very gullible.

    1. Lottie

      Many cards

      I have 2 cashcards and I suppose I'm not unique.

      2 people, minimum of 2 cards each, £250 max daily withdrawal per card. No probs.

    2. Steve 48


      It doesn't say they got the money from a cash machine! According to the BBC and Hunts Post they withdrew the money from the Bank - Lloyds IIRC.

    3. Anonymous John

      There's a title in this rucksack,, honestly.

      I'm baffled. It isn't likely that they went out with the intention of buying a laptop, and it's hardly an impulse buy. The only reason I can see is that they thought it was a bargain price for a second-hand lappy with no warranty. Wouldn't anyone with a need for computer to have some idea of prices?

  14. Velv


    Nowhere does it say the laptop was stolen.

    In all truth, the laptop was probably NOT stolen, and probably was the property of the fraudster, since to be caught fencing stolen goods as well as a bait and switch would carry more risk of being convicted, and would carry a higher sentence.

    Having been pedantic about it, it probably was stolen as criminals are idiots.

  15. John Sanders

    A few years back

    I had a co-worker that got scammed in Central London (Tottenham Court Road), he had supposedly bought a second hand laptop and a video camera from a chap on the street, including the laptop bag where he was carrying the goods. He came very excited to show us what he had bought.

    When he opened the laptop bag there was a few cardboard pieces and two bottles of some apple fizzy drink, all was neatly packed inside.

    My poor co-worker was scammed £450, and you should have seen his face, poor guy.

    A few weeks later we found the bottles on a drawer, we drank it, and I have to admit the drink was good.

    However I could understand how he fell for it, back in 2003 laptops were expensive compared to today, and a video camera wasn't less than £200, so £400 for the lot (plus he showed the buying receipts) wasn't bad at all.

    But £650 for a laptop! wow! just wow!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @John Sanders

      Who's the bigger idiot

      a.) one who falls for the smooth talk of a con artist


      b.) one who drinks from a bottle of unknown content and dubious origin

      To remind you of a quote from Einstsein, "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

  16. Badbob

    Who pays that for second hand?

    My brand new HP laptop cost £550 from PCWorld and has plenty of the appropriate bells+whistles.

    So not only were the couple attempting to buy stolen goods from "some bloke" on the street, but they were willing to pay more than they could from a reputable retailer.

    If you ask me they deserve everything they get. The couple were probably brother and sister anyway.

    PS, funnily enough I had been looking at jobs in Huntingdon with a major communications equipment company. Might just go down and fleece the locals instead, looks like easy money.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The pig in a poke is the oldest con trick of all. I know I shouldn't be, but I'm amazed that there is anybody left on the planet who'd fall for it.

    1. Steve 48


      I can quite believe it as I live near Huntingdon. There's the "Oxmoor" estate there where half the population behave like (and may well be) drug dealing crims, the other half (mainly chavs) give credence to the local joke name of "Oxmorons" & to be honest many of the residents of nearby towns and villages are as bad.

  18. Rogerborg

    Who the hell pays £650 for a stolen laptop?

    Oh, wait, you saw them tweeting each other on their matching iPhone 4s? Fair enough.

  19. Kubla Cant


    Bag of potatoes: usually rounded, knobbly, and about five inches thick.

    Laptop: usually rectangular, flat, and about one inch thick.

    It seems an odd choice of substitute, even in a bag.

    1. The Infamous Grouse


      At that price I also figured it had to be a high-end Macbook, which is where I think the scammers missed a trick. For added irony I'd have filled the bag with half a dozen spuds and, buried at the bottom for the victims to find, a solitary apple.

      As for size and shape the scammers tend to favour robust, top-opening laptop bags that effectively hide the shape of anything within. A favourite substitute for the laptop used to be plastic bottles of water.

      When 'The Real Hustle' did this they made up fake wooden laptops sprayed with glossy black paint, so even a cursory glance in the top of the bag wouldn't have revealed the switch until it was too late.

  20. joshimitsu

    They must have been REALLY high end models

    Like a Macbook Pro perhaps, or a Dell Precision.

    But people that stupid don't need such powerful hardware since they'll mostly use it for Facebook,

  21. David 45

    Gullible folk

    Difficult to believe that anyone would actually fall for this scam, especially at THAT price. Could buy a pretty good new one for 650 smackers, guv - without the dents where it fell off the back of a lorry. Maybe it's greed, pure and simple, in which case they got what they deserved. Sounds like the sort of people that would go, hook, line and sinker, for a phish or a 404. Please eliminate them from the gene pool!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      a 404?

      I think it's a 419 you're looking for. I've 404 a scam coinciding named after the http request failure. Though if such a 403 act were so-named, though, it'd be 200 with me.

      Regardless, I suspect that they won't find the perpetrator. He has 300 of marks, and will probably 100; when the authorities finally do catch up with him, they'll most likely find that he's 301.

    2. Anonymous John

      "Page not found" message?

      404 +15 + 419.

      The post is required, and must contain letters.

  22. Johnny Canuck

    I feel sorry for them.

    That is why I am prepared to offer them a brand new laptop, which I have in this here bag, for a mere $1200.00.

  23. Simon 4

    @Joe Fay

    "not terribly lucrative scam. "


    650 quid for a sack of potatoes? Sounds pretty lucrative to me. Especially if the fuzz don't care.

    If this isn't particularly lucrative for 15 minutes work, including the trip to the supermarket, then please do explain what you consider to be a lucrative scam by comparison.

  24. Winkypop Silver badge

    Say no to landfill waste....

    I always decline a plastic bag when buying a small number of items at the supermarket.

    Perhaps if one insists on dealing with Dodgy-Dave type characters on the High St, one should decline the accompanying packaging/bag/box that conceals the item for sale.. At worst, you will depart with an empty laptop case, at least that's better than a bag of spuds.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Have you seen the price of organic spuds these days?

  26. Peter Clarke 1


    .. the spuds were grown near a nuclear reactor the maybe the could be used for fission chips?

    Mines the one with Rest Home For Old Jokes on the back

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stolen? £650?

    There seem to be two repeating posts here.

    One is the assumption that the laptop is stolen. Why would it need to be stolen, it could be the conman's own perfectly good laptop. He's not actually selling it so why bother stealing it? I remember a con a few years back that involved selling the same car to several different buyers. The trick was that the car needed a bit of work doing on it for the MOT so the buyer was talked into paying a deposit and to come back in a couple of weeks to collect the freshly MOT's car. When the buyers turned up the vendor had skipped. Similar trick, there's no real need for the car to be stolen although it probably was.

    Secondly the £650 thing. Imagine somebody got conned out of, say £325, when they came to report it to the police the figure may have inflated somewhat. Or maybe they did draw out £650 from the bank, but not all of it was for the laptop. This sort of thing is fairly common, just like many people try to claim for things on insurance over and above the legitimate claim. A friend of mine who works in insurance reckons that 10% of stolen cars apparently had a set of golf clubs in the boot.

  28. HaplessPoet

    It seems to me...

    that the "seller" missed a trick here.

    He could easily have got a £300 quid lappy from a supermarket and legitimately sold it for 600+ and earned a nice little profit.

    Then told his "buyer" to recommend him to his other equally dim friends.

    All legal and above board and very profitable!

  29. alan lovedog

    about ten years ago...

    as i cycled down the street in my small market town, a van drove past and the man in front gestured to me to pull over.

    doing so, he opened the side of the van and showed me 2 large loudspeakers - complete with a supposed store display card showing the RRP.

    we had a pair left over, he explained - you can have them for £400.

    i said no and left, later i heard that it was a regular scam - the speakers were cheap crap essentially.

  30. Studley

    Stolen laptop? No...

    ...won't somebody please think of the stolen potatoes?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    local rag

    reports it was a Laptop and an iPhone

  32. Evil Genius

    Not conned...

    ...they actually spent the £650 in PC World

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