back to article Crooks sell skint fanbois potatoes instead of iPhones

Greater Manchester police are appealing for help after a number of people who thought they were laying hands on a shiny new iPhone ended up with a sack of spuds instead. The conmen approached people in car-parks and on the street to ask them if they fancied buying laptops or iPhones, but actually gave them some totally random …


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  1. Flugal

    Oldest. One. In. The. Book.

    The people who perpatrate this crime are utter wankers, and their victims are stupid, greedy idiots.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      But why potatoes for goodness sake?

      1. cyborg

        To give it a good weight I assume.

        1. Code Monkey


          Good weight and the hapless fools can console themselves with chips. Or a nice soup.

          Mmmmm soup!

      2. Shady

        Because they're cheap as chips? Sorry.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Yeah but there are heavy cheap items which aren't so obviously nothing like the shape of a laptop. Like a lump of wood.

      3. Giles Jones Gold badge

        Because you can make chips out of them?

    2. Sooty

      The 'victims' are hardly innocent in this. They are trying to buy an ipad/iphone from some random guy who approaches them in a car park. At the very least they must think they are buying stolen goods.

    3. Steve Evans


      So old there is even a common English saying which evolved from the practise.

      "Letting the cat out of the bag" comes from people selling a cat in a sack and claiming it to be a pig. "Letting the cat out of the bag" came to mean "revealing a secret or deception".

      I'm not sure if I should be angry at the conmen for the con, or admire their adherence to tradition. Whichever it is I have little sympathy for the victims. They're either very very gullible, or willing to buy what must flag up a few "stolen goods" alarms in their head.

      Another English saying comes to mind - A fool and their money are easily parted.

      1. Reading Your E-mail

        Re: Indeed...

        I bought a bag of potatoes but ended up with a bloody iPhone grrrr

        1. Asgard

          Re: Indeed...

          "I bought a bag of potatoes but ended up with a bloody iPhone grrrr"

          Well they are both filled with chips and have rounded corners

      2. M. Poolman

        Re: Indeed...

        That's one explanation of the saying. The other is that it's nautical. The cat in question is the cat o' nine tails. Thus an action that lets it out of the bag is one that is going to lead to Big Trouble.

        1. Chad H.

          Re: Indeed...

          Similarly buying a pig in a poke was buyinga pig in a bag without looking at the pig

        2. Graham Marsden

          @M. Poolman

          The problem with the nautical explanation is that it simply doesn't fit with the underlying meaning of the phrase ie to reveal a secret.

          1. M. Poolman

            Re: @M. Poolman

            The phrase usually implies dire consequences from revealing the secret. e.g. Accidently allowing the wielder of authority (and the cat) to discover some breach of the Kings Regulations deserving of summary punnishment is to let the cat out of the bag.

            1. PhillippeDuLait

              Re: @M. Poolman

              Sorry, but no. Nothing nautical about letting the cat out of the bag. You sir are labouring under a misconception.

            2. Graham Marsden

              Re: @M. Poolman

              To quote from

              "It’s commonly asserted that let the cat out of the bag refers to the cat o’ nine-tails used on board ships as form of punishment. The whip would be kept in a special bag to protect it from the sea air and to let the cat out of the bag was to confess a crime worthy of flogging. A neat tale, except there is absolutely no evidence to connect the phrase with a nautical origin. "

              AIUI there wasn't actually a "special cat" that was kept in a bag, rather someone who was due to be flogged would be given a short length of rope and they had to unravel it and actually make the device for their own punishment.

              Naval ropes were made from three smaller ropes twisted together, each of which were made, in turn, from three thinner ropes, hence why the Navy Cat had nine tails.

              1. Joseph Bryant

                Re: @M. Poolman

                Sounds like another load of horse hockey from CANOE (Committee to Assign a Nautical Origin to Everything).

      3. Chris 96

        Re: Indeed...

        the not-so-oft-used phrase "buying a pig in a poke" derives from the same situation, where a poke is old English for a small bag (where we get the modern 'pocket').

        To buy a pig in a poke means you have no idea of what you are getting.

        If its too good to be true - its either not so good or its not true.

        There endeth the lesson - I'll get my coat.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Obviously the work of the Irish Mob.

      Who else?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      But someone always falls for it. Bet he thought they were stolen. Serves him right.

  2. Winkypop Silver badge

    As it's always been

    This con probably started in a cave somewhere.

    Ogg: Want buy some mammoth meat?

    Zlg: Oooooh....


    Zlg: Awww &%#$, not rocks again!

  3. Pen-y-gors

    Why is it an offence to separate a fool and his money? Anyone who hands over £1400 in cash to a bloke on a garage forecourt who offers him a couple of cheap laptops doesn't even deserve a potato. They should have all their assets seized and made to starve to death so their genes are removed from the gene pool.

    1. Arrrggghh-otron

      Because ultimately the scams become increasingly institutionalised and appear more and more legitimate as time goes on... think insurance, pensions etc.

      But in these instances, it does seem to be a case of buyer beware.

      1. Joe Drunk

        But how can anyone NOT living in a cave still fall victim to this well-publicized scam? Zero sympathy for these people. Just means these bottom-feeding victims will have less money to spend on lottery tickets.

    2. Jedit Silver badge

      "Why is it an offence to separate a fool and his money?"

      Yeah - and while we're at it, why is it a crime to steal a car if it's left unlocked, or to burgle someone's house if they leave a window open when they go on holiday?

      Scammers and thieves don't stop being criminals just because the mark is a fool.

      1. mark 63 Silver badge

        Re: "Why is it an offence to separate a fool and his money?"

        "Yeah - and while we're at it, why is it a crime to steal a car if it's left unlocked"

        well no one seems to think its an offence to use someones unencrypted wifi

        1. Andrew Moore

          Re: "Why is it an offence to separate a fool and his money?"

          that's the best way to scrape usernames and passwords. I'm fine with people using my unsecured wifi as long as they don't mind me using their unsecured login credentials.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Why is it an offence to separate a fool and his money?"

        Nope, fuck 'em. Anyone that hands over hundreds of pounds without even looking in the bag first deserves everything they get.

      3. Giles Jones Gold badge

        Re: "Why is it an offence to separate a fool and his money?"

        Insurers call that contributory negligence and refuse to pay out.

      4. mrfill

        Re: "Why is it an offence to separate a fool and his money?"

        If it really is an offence, where do Apple and Microsoft stand?

    3. technohead95

      Why would anyone think £1400 is a great deal for 2 laptops sold by someone on a garage forecourt? If they didn't even see what model laptops they were then it's even more stupid as they could have been some real cheap laptops that you can get brand new in legit stores for under £400 each. It's very hard to sympathise with victims with few brain cells than the fingers on their hands.

      1. Usually Right or Wrong

        And another point

        what cash machine allowed a £1400 withdrawal? Unless he used multiple cards, which must cut the estimate of his brain cells to the fingers on one hand.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I see a legal version of this scam.

        Buy 2 functional laptops off ebay for around £50 (who cares if they're 200mhz pentium II's).

        Sell to idiot for £1400.


        If you find a company you could even set yourself up as one of those 'safe disposal' things and get paid to receive the shitty laptops in the first place.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I see a legal version of this scam.

          Go one step further - have a top-end machine elsewhere in the car, wirelessly serving up the desktop by VNC so it appears to be running really quickly.

    4. Gav

      dishonest fools

      Because being a fool isn't illegal and some people are of low intelligence and have a right to the protection of the law like anyone else.

      However, in this case these people are most likely not just fools, but dishonest fools. Unless they are of markedly low intelligence, they must have expected that the offered goods were dodgy. If so, they deserved everything they got.

      Either that or the sellers are accomplished confidence tricksters who manage to get otherwise sensible and law-abiding people to make stupid snap decisions.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Were they french?

    Apple = Pomme

    Potato = Pomme de terre

    There's a joke in there somewhere but I can't be arsed thinking of it.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Were they french?

      you beat me to it, B^$%*£^!

  5. wibble001

    As the old adage goes..... can't con an honest man.

    1. Rameses Niblick the Third (KKWWMT)

      Re: As the old adage goes.....

      To quote Terry Pratchett:

      "If you did fool an honest man, he tended to complain to the Watch..... Fooling dishonest men was a lot safer and, somehow, more sporting. And, of course, there were so many more of them. You hardly had to aim."

      Words to live by, I feel.

    2. Wize

      Re: As the old adage goes.....

      " can't con an honest man."

      Tell that to poor old grandpa who had his savings taken by some conmen who convinced him he needed a lot of work on his roof or it would collapse.

      Being gullible doesn't make you dishonest.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Victims? Really?

    So, given the circumstances - ridiculously low price, approached in forecourts, etc - these punters know there's a 99.999% chance these would be stolen laptops or phones and still go for it?

    I'd say the police should fine them for attempting to purchase stolen goods, not help them or call them victims.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: Victims? Really?

      Absolutely, I think Political Correctness has had it's day.

      "anyone who may have fallen victim"


      "anyone who was stupid enough to deal with two Eastern European men on a garage forecourt with obviously stolen goods"

      Can someone also convince me that it is possible to withdraw £1400 from a cash machine? The most I can get is £500 (I suppose he could have used multiple cards)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Victims? Really?

      Since when is £1400 for two stolen laptops a "ridiculously low price"?

      You can but two pretty reasonably laptops from a shop for that.

      1. Patrick R
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Victims? Really?

        Ridiculously low price it was! They were hexacore i9 processors @ 8GHz with 64Gig of RAM and 16Tbytes SSD! And mainly the weight seemed alright.

        1. Shane8

          Re: Victims? Really?

          quad SLI nVidia 680's also ?? Hang on, let me grab some cash out!!!

          1. DRendar

            Re: Victims? Really?

            Naa, he was probably just told they were entry level MacBooks.

            "Only £1400? And you don't want my left testicle and firstborn son too? FUCKING BARGAIN!"

  7. Miek

    "but actually gave them some totally random other thing in a bag" -- Quite a common item to find actually, potatoes are used [in this scam] due to their weight and cost. I also remember seeing potatoes used in The Real Hustle's Christmas gift wrapping scam.

    "Why is it an offence to separate a fool and his money?" -- Fraud / Obtaining Funds by Deception. You choose.

  8. Nathan 13

    Do these people

    not watch "The Real Hustle"

    I suppose its a socially acceptable con as the victims must be rolling in dosh to manage to instantly get £1400 in cash.

  9. \\\

    Greedy dishonest people....

    .... the "victims", I'm glad they've lost their money! Trying to get a bargain at the misery of someone else.

    I can't believe anyone, in this day and age, doesn't know that if someone approaches you out of the blue, offering to sell electrical goods, it's guaranteed not to be kosher. It was even in a car park ffs.

    1. Andrew Moore

      Re: Greedy dishonest people....

      In my dad's day it used to be Italian leather jackets- this scam has been around for ages in one form or another.

  10. Jeffrey Jefferson

    If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

  11. g e

    I would ask anyone who may have fallen victim to these two men

    To kindly remove themselves from the human gene pool.


  12. HFoster

    I bet

    I bet these are the types of people who don't shop online for fear of fraud.

    Utter, utter plonkers.

  13. pcsupport

    Which bank is he with that allows him to withdraw £1400 from the cash machine???

  14. Cuddles

    It never ceases to amaze me

    just how incredibly retarded people can be.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It could have been worse

    Potatoes are quite useful - imagine if they'd actually got the iPhone?

  16. Pete the not so great

    What was the guy's name?

    I think he may have won a lottery?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What was the guy's name?

      Yup, 40 billion Nigerian whatever-it-is. So probably about 20p in proper money.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this the modern/tech version of..

    an eye for an i-

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: Is this the modern/tech version of..

      iPot. ?

      1. GuyC

        Re: Is this the modern/tech version of..

        more like an iDiot

  18. LinkOfHyrule

    I brought some potatoes off some big dumb guy last week - when I opened the packaging I was shocked to discoverer it actually contained a brand new iPhone!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Peter Storm

      Reply Icon

      I'm surprised. I would have expected an HTC Desiree.

  19. wowfood

    I may be heartless

    But if you're dumb enough to buy a pair of used laptops for £1400 which sounds like a good deal you deserve to get a sack of potatoes.

    I mean for god sakes, even if it wasn't a con and it were a real laptop its probably stolen or broken or both. I mean seriously are people these days THAT stupid? (don't answer that)

  20. Peter Storm

    Ere! This isn't a laptop, it's a bag of potatoes!

    Quick, call the Peelers!

    1. CD001

      *hat doffed*

  21. Code Monkey

    Don't buy a laptop in a carpark. It can't be that difficult can it?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    These are not victims we should feel especially sorry for - they were trying to buy something that most people would reasonably expect to be stolen.

    If someone offered you a new iPhone that you knew to be worth £500 for £200 - SURELY - you would realise something were wrong.

    Good money for the crooks - do that just once a day...

  23. JimmyPage

    Sorry, zero sympathy for the marks.

    Tripped by their own greed. Sad thing is, when they catch the fraudsters, they will probably get a harsher sentence than if they had hit the guy over the head and taken off with his wallet.

    Incidentally, a previous poster commented, quite correctly, that getting your hands on £1,400 in a few minutes is not a cakewalk. Off the top of my head, I could rustle up £600 (£300 on my cash card, £300 on the Mrs). Beyond that, we'd be looking at having to cash in some savings, and my building society has a limit (£300 IIRC) on how much you can cash in without 48 hours warning. Which leads me to believe there are some fundamental facts missing from this story. Still, it makes a good headline, and takes the plebs mind off the real news...

    1. bobbobson

      Re: Sorry, zero sympathy for the marks.

      Yeah I was wondering about that, You usually have to book more than a £1000 from the bank. In my experience in the last 6 months anyway.

    2. Mr_Pitiful

      Re: Sorry, zero sympathy for the marks.

      I wondered about getting the cash also, then I remembered something...

      HSBC do have a platnium account 'withdraw upto £1000 a day from cash machines'

      If you also had a credit card linked to it the £2k in maybe 3 mins

      1. JimmyPage

        Re: Sorry, zero sympathy for the marks.

        Which begs the question, how can someone with so much money to hand be so fucking stupid ? I'm not equating riches with intelligence btw, just pointing out that the richer the guy is, the less need he would have of a knocked-off laptop.

        Mind you, when I worked in a small car repair firm, the people with the most expensive cars invariably argued over the bill, whilst people who could hardly afford the coat on their back usually paid without question. When I pointed this out to the owner, he just said "that's hopw they got rich".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "that's how they got rich".

          Very true I've found. I've found myself working for a number of millionaires over the years and the great majority (with the odd exception) were the most mean spirited miserly arseholes I've ever come across.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sorry, zero sympathy for the marks.

        [QUOTE="Mr_Pitiful"] I wondered about getting the cash also, then I remembered something...

        HSBC do have a platnium account 'withdraw upto £1000 a day from cash machines'

        If you also had a credit card linked to it the £2k in maybe 3 mins[/QUOTE]

        shhhh! he was undercover... the bills are marked ;)

  24. Anonymous Coward 15

    Want to see some puppies?

    They're over there in my windowless, unmarked van, yeah, that one with the rust and the handwritten number plate.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you ever doubt my comments about have fking stupid the English are, you can always refer back to this article!

    Each and everyone deserved what they got, especially the ifannys.

    If you disagree, send £1 to PO BOX6656 Freepost 6656

  26. David 45


    There's one born every minute and it seems the "one" is invariably greedy. More money than sense, obviously. No sympathy at all from this particular quarter.

  27. stucs201

    A potato instead of a computer?

    Are they sure? It could be the mobile version of GLaDOS. The give-away will be if any of them try to kill them and/or offer cake.

    (The one with the weighted companion cube in the pocket)

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the good news is

    . . . that over here are a bunch of very experienced people from all over the world who give their time for free to try to help victims:

    Please do read a few stories there and you guys might not be so harsh on the victims (and often their families as well) that we deal with every day

    Having said that I agree it's an old con - once upon a time when I was young & foolish I used to follow them around the service area car parks that they infest spoiling their pitch until they left - in those days it was quilts or watches.

    Best advice when buying stuff from someone you don't know is to ask take their picture :)

    Posted AC for once because of what I do.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Approaches on petrol station forecourts.

    We've all been there. Some "geezer" approaches you asking if you wan to buy a watch/phone as you walk into the garage. You instantly sense something is wrong, feel very uneasy and decline.

    The worst place for this on my travels is the garages on the A3 outside Guildford. Been approached there many times by people trying to flog stuff.

    The other was a woman at Warwick services who needed £20 to take her sick mother to hospital. She had "the cancer" apparently and the more I questioned the more overbearing the woman became. Told the woman that why didn't she seek help in the shop from the staff? She started making excuses and backed off.

    When I asked in the shop the staff said this was happening quite often and the police might turn up when they felt like it.

    As I left the woman started on her next "victim". I guess if you hang around long enough someone will fall for the story and hand over 20 quid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Approaches on petrol station forecourts.

      But, erm, don't we have ambulances for people with an urgent need to attend hospital?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Approaches on petrol station forecourts.

        It wasn't serious enough for that, apparently. The phrase "the cancer" will live with me forever though. The moment that left her mouth the entire thing turned into a scene from The League Of Gentleman.

  30. CmdrX3

    Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

    While I have sympathy for people who are conned through no fault of their own other than being a bit naive. For these people I have not a single jot of sympathy. Anyone who gets approached by some random stranger offering to sell them something on the cheap is bound to know it's either a con or it's stolen goods, either way they should have known better and have only themselves to blame.

  31. Rob

    Anecdotal story about a dodgy buy on the street

    [mindless ramble]

    Oddly enough when I was younger a bloke in car spotted me coming out of a shop and called me over to offer me a watch for £20. I bartered him down to £15 (even though I had £30 in my wallet).

    This was about 15yrs ago, I still have the watch and with the odd bit of maintenance by a jewellers over the years is still going strong, it is a very unique design and have never seen one since.

    On reflection is was a very stupid move but I was lucky enough to come out on top with that deal, something that would never happen nowadays though.

    [/mindless ramble]

    1. Cosmo

      Re: Anecdotal story about a dodgy buy on the street

      Haa haa,

      I did the same mindless thing years ago as a wet-behind-the-ears student.

      Walking along the street, a guy pulled up in a car and offered me a watch for £40. Showed it to me in a case, and he had a whole back seat full of them. I said as a passing remark I'd take it for £20 and he said OK then. Put it in a box and gave it to me. It's died now, but worked for about 10 years.

      It wasn't a Claude Valentino or something like that was it?

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: Anecdotal story about a dodgy buy on the street

        in the Canaries, they don't even bother to pretend that the Rolexes are genuine. They pile them high and sell them cheap. If anyone thinks they're buying the real thing they're idiots, and if anyone from Rolex thinks they are losing money because of it, they're also idiots.

        I bought one so my decent watch didn't get ruined by sand or saltwater. It was branded Rolexe (sic).

  32. DJV Silver badge

    Obvious solution

    Don't buy anything from anyone driving a Vauxhall...

    ...erm, no, wait... scrub that, just realised I also drive one...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obvious solution

      Good advice in general.

      Never buy anything from someone who owns a Vauxhall, including a car ;)

      Though in fairness, old Vectras are still fairly plentiful and can be picked up for peanuts, and seem to have a fairly high attrition rate compared to the likes of the contemporary Mondeo (when did you last see a 90s mk1/2?).

      I've heard they've actually had laptops, camcorders, cameras boxed; show you them out of the box, put the box into a bag. But when the mark opens the box later, it is a potato / water bottle - either they do a trick and switch the box they're putting into the bag, or they switch the bag.

  33. Ross 7

    "...asked if he wanted to buy two laptops for £1,400. He reckoned that was a good deal"

    Really? Guess he shops in PC World.

    Anyway, so the point of this story is there's two guys running around with massive amounts of hard cash on them, they're criminals, and you've given us a decent description of them? Anyone fancy joining me in a jaunt to Manchester?...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Guess he shops in PC World.

      I heard the con artists gave him poor technical information but bullied him into taking covercare, then wouldn't exchage it because the potato was chipped....

      The initial spud was a return/refurb'd potato that they tried to palm off on him.

      When he opened the spud, in PC World fashion half of it was taken up by trials of anti-virus pesticides.

      Then a week later he finds out the price of his spud was artificially inflated so that the crims can claim to have a sale at the original price.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You can't con an honest man...

    So these victims are not worth police time IMHO.

    1. CmdrX3

      Of course you can

      I think you've been watching a little too much Hustle.

  35. chris lively

    I'm willing to bet the 1400 was a type and should have read 400.

    Regardless, the old saying out a sucker born every minute is still very true today.

  36. Vince

    Banks and Cash Withdrawals

    My Barclays Premier Account allows £750 daily withdrawals.

    So that plus a credit card, or perhaps a Personal and Joint account like that would get you £1500 in 2 simple transactions. It's not that much money.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Banks and Cash Withdrawals

      "Not that much money"?!

      That would pay my grocery bills for at least six months.

      The comment has been made often enough already, but just what sort of person has that much cash to hand for an un-premeditated transaction. I can only assume that the cash handed over was also dishonestly aquired.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Banks and Cash Withdrawals

      Not that much money????

      A statement like that puts me in mind of the type of person who goes on these Escape to the Homes under the Hammer in the Country programmes and you can only get a mortgage for £750k for a "modest" dwelling.

      I've never owned a car worth more than £1400, £1500 would be a considerable whack to lose.

      But then I don't have a 'Premier' account to tell people on an internet forum.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Money from cashpoints

    If you ask your bank to increase the limit of how much you can withdraw on your card they will change the limit.

    Well Lloyds did for me as going into the bank to withdraw more than £200 was pi$$ing me off I can now withdraw "More™"

    As for the stroy - no sympathy for anyone who buys stolen goods and getting fooled by one of the oldest tricks in the book

  38. JulianB

    Cat out of the bag?

    @Steve Evans - you might be thinking of buying "a pig in a poke".

    a pig in a poke

    something that is bought or accepted without knowing its value or seeing it first.

    [with reference to the formerly common trick of selling a cat concealed in a bag to someone who was expecting a pig] - OED

    Anyway, if one of my friends or colleagues offered to sell me a laptop, I'd want to see it, and see it working. How stupid would I have to be to to buy it unseen, off a stranger? And I guess this is racist of me, but somehow a stranger with a foreign accent is even more suspicious.

  39. This post has been deleted by its author

  40. annodomini2

    A fool and his money are soon parted.

    "A foole & his money,

    be soone at debate:

    which after with sorow,

    repents him to late."

    Thomas Tusser in Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandrie, 1573:

  41. TheOtherHobbes

    They could have been even more stupid

    Invested in JP Morgan, or something.

  42. Mike Bell


    Do you *have* to be driving a Vauxhall to commit this kind of crime?

    Just wondering.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Spud-U-Like

      Cheap big saloons/hatches, innit.

      Mondeos from the 90s tend to get scrapped early.

      German cars are too expensive.

      French cars are mostly diesel, so the 2nd hand price is inflated and they get taxiied/tradesmanned to bangerdom.

      Japanese cars the parts are too expensive.

      Italian cars, Vectra size are quite rare (other than the 156) and the electrics can be temperamental.

  43. Doug Glass

    A fool and his money ...

    ... is soon parted. If you don't want to be fleeced, stop acting like a sheep.

  44. Framitz

    No sympathy here

    The greedy, stupid victims got what they paid for.

  45. Charles 9

    I have to wonder.

    I've heard this story in El Reg before. If you want to impress me, find me a story where a sod supposedly hands over cash for a sack of potatoes, only for the fraudsters to try to spend their money and get thrown in jail...because the money was counterfeit! Show me a sneak being sneaked and I'll have something to laugh about for weeks.

  46. JustNiz

    You have to wonder

    What maroon would hand over 1400 quid without seeing the laptops first?

    Seems like he bought a lesson in common sense.

    1. Sooty

      Re: You have to wonder

      As I understand this sort of scam, they actually do have the laptops and show them quite freely. They are then put in a bag or box and switched around when the cash is handed over

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ex turpi causa non oritur actio

    The purchaser clearly intended to buy an item that was not legal and got stung. Under the principle of 'ex turpi causa' he should not be permitted to take action against the vendor - and should be prosecuted himself as he was engaging in an illegal act, that of receiving stolen goods

  48. thesykes


    Cheating husband blows £1400 on a trinket for the girlfriend, wife spots the withdrawal and demands an explanation. Hubby remembers a story in the local paper about some East European scam artists in a Vauxhall and says.. "I bought these laptops for us dear", and promptly gives her the bag of spuds he went to the shops for in the first place.

  49. Rick594

    Action Fraud are a waste of time. I contacted them 2 weeks ago about an attempted internet fraud using ebay, but although I was still in contact with the fraudster they didn't seem all that interested they said they would call be back. When they called me back 2 days later I was out, and when my wife asked for their number they replied "Oh he's got our number". I called the 0300 number and received an automated reply "This number does not accept incoming calls". No alternative number was given. Why bother?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Eastern European accents"?

    Is that Police-speak for Gypsies?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Eastern European accents"?

      Can't be. It doesn't mention the Vauxhals being untaxed...

  51. LaeMing

    You wouldn't download a potato.

  52. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Sometimes it's not so simple. They show you the contents of the box complete with laptop or phone, but then there's a switch of the boxes.

  53. Steelhead


    It is a mistake to think that you can solve any major problems just with potatoes

  54. MJI Silver badge

    Someone tried to con me and I drive a Vauxhall

    Parked up in a gate to a field, no money tried to sell a ring, we drove off and reported, Police turned up about 6 hours later!


    1) Known con

    2) Why did their mate drive off leaving them?

    I had to stop as he waved me down from middle of road.

  55. mrfill

    A friend once bought ...

    .. a box from a man in a shop for over £100. He said it contained a "world leading operating system" but when he got home and tried to install it he found it was something called 'Windows'.

    Potatoes would have been much more useful

  56. This post has been deleted by its author

  57. Daz555

    Reminds me of a scam a few years back with cheap LCDs being sold on the street - they turned out to be oven doors.

  58. h3

    Could have been drug money someone wanted rid of or something else illegal.

  59. KayKay

    how to withdraw money

    may not work with all banks, but will with many...

    your limit is 500

    you take out 480

    you ask for another 500

    it checks, you are not over limit yet today, so it lets you have it

    this works because the machine only asks "limit or not" and doesn't ask if the proposed second withdrawal would go over the limit. It then asks for 500, which (if you have it on the account) the bank hands over on the assumption the limit check has already been done and passed.

    you can't ask for more at any one time than the total daily limit OR the transaction limit on the machine itself, which is high traffic areas may be lower (to leave some cash in for other people).

    IT, where would we be without it?

  60. fattybacon

    The source from the force

    It's got even more funnees, bottles of water and bottles of coke, to go with the spuds. The truly gullible could get a full meal going on.

    All the talk of bank accounts not giving out much at ATMs are forgetting that the there is a vast underclass that deal solely with cash because they don't trust banks (wise) or the banks won't touch them. Hence the popularity of the payday loans and real loan sharks.

    When I pop into Argos in my northern seaside town (that they forgot to bomb), I'm usally the only one using the yellow card pay kiosks, everyone else queues with their bundles of cash.

  61. hesan


    This is weird -about 12 years ago I was holidaying in Tuscany with a friend and his girlfriend and as we headed back to germany by car, not too far away from our holiday home that we stayed at -we stopped at a petrol station and he got dupped by EXACTLY the same hustle..

    This time it was for a swanky (at the time) Nokia mobile phone...

    There must be something about petrol stations and heavy weighted items...

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