Don’t get caught out when selling online, say Herts Police

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Herts Police have issued another reminder to be careful when selling goods online.

On December 14, a man attended an address in Three Cherry Trees Lane to sell his iPhone 7 plus, after advertising it for sale on Gumtree. When he arrived, the buyer he had arranged to meet with snatched the phone and ran off.

Since July there have been six similar incidents where people who have secured sales on their items have then arranged to meet the buyer to receive payment and hand over the goods.

Upon meeting the buyer the item has been taken from them and no payment handed over. The buyer has then left with the item and in some cases the seller has been threatened if they attempt to follow or contact the police.

The items being sold cover a wide spectrum including animals, electrical items, baby goods and furniture.

There have been three incidents since the start of December alone.

In the vast majority of these cases, the sellers have been asked to meet the buyers in Three Cherry Trees Lane or nearby estates in Hemel Hempstead.

Neighbourhood Sergeant Karen Mellor said: “With Christmas almost upon us there is likely to be a rise in people selling unwanted items through sites such as Gumtree. I would like to remind sellers to be extremely cautious when making arrangements to hand over items when there has been no advance payment. Try and arrange collection from a genuine address rather than the name of a road in which to meet.

“If you are unsure of the address you have been given, do some research before you arrive. Use Google Earth to check that the location is not isolated or unsuitable looking. If you don’t like the location, you could suggest meeting in a more public place, where there is CCTV, such as a shopper’s car park or near to a local police station or bank. If when you arrive, the address looks suspicious, do not continue with the transaction.

“My team have made numerous attempts to trace items stolen in this way, however many of the sellers have not recorded any information, such as serial numbers, to enable us to identify them as the items we are looking for. If you are selling a high value item, please make sure you make a note of all the necessary information required to identify it as yours, before you sell it on.”

Anyone with any information about these offences is asked to contact Sergeant Karen Mellor on 101.