Stevenage man’s warning after white-van stranger’s £100 rubbish scam

PUBLISHED: 11:01 28 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:40 28 August 2018

Paul Smith, from Stevenage, wants to ensure others don't fall victim to the same scam he did. Picture: JP Asher

Paul Smith, from Stevenage, wants to ensure others don't fall victim to the same scam he did. Picture: JP Asher

Archant

A man in a van took £100 to take away a Stevenage household’s rubbish, then dumped it on the lawn and drove away.

Paul Smith, from Bedwell, told the Comet he wanted to help make sure other people didn’t fall for the same scam.

The incident happened between 2pm and 2.35pm on Friday, when Paul had a knock on the door from a stranger who offered to take a pile of rubbish outside his home off his hands in return for £100.

Paul, who said he found the man “ever so pleasant”, took up his offer of a lift to Bedwell shops and back to take out the cash.

“I gave him the money and he started loading up the van,” said Paul.

“Then he asked if I had a saw and if he could borrow it to cut this lump of wood.

“I went through my back gate and around the back to get it for him, and then I got back and he was gone.

“All the rubbish was dumped on my lawn, and he had taken off with my £100 in his pocket.”

Paul said the thief was “a big stocky fellow” aged about 40, who drove a plain white van and had a boy aged about 15 with him.

He has reported the scam to police, and is keen for others to be on their guard.

“What I don’t want is for someone else to be caught the same way,” he said.

“He was ever so pleasant, then he said he’d give me a lift and everything. He was quite nice until he ran off with my £100.

“I was absolutely amazed. I couldn’t believe he had gone off with my money.”

Paul’s case marks a departure from the more common waste removal scam whereby people take households’ rubbish away for cash before fly-tipping it in the countryside.

If you’re looking to dispose of rubbish, ask the waste carrier to provide you with their full address and telephone number, or ask to see the waste carrier licence issued to them by the Environment Agency.

You can also contact the Environment Agency directly on 08708 506 506 and ask for a free instant waste carrier validation check, or check on the Environment Agency website at gov.uk/government/organisations/environment-agency.

If you have information that could help officers trace the scammer who ripped off Paul, call 101 and quote reference 41/28396/18.

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