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Thank-you very much to both Trains4U and AGR for the heads up, we really appreciate it. We have provided pictures of them to the staff in the store and briefed everyone here in the event they're spotted here. Hopefully they're tracked down soon!

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Thanks to the OP, AGR Models, I've rung my brother to let him know too, even though he is quite some distance away (at he moment) from the general crime area.

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

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I knew Mick had been hit by them as he mentioned it at Glasgow. Just a thought that might help if they are known shoplifters for those shops in bigger towns possibly try and speak to the LP teams in department stores or supermarkets. They will usually get RACS photo files through (retailers against crime) which can be useful for getting names and getting them caught quicker. I wouldn’t be suprised if they go after other high end goods like perfumes etc elsewhere especially from the fact they travel around too. 
 

Hope that’s of help.

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How might the thieves dispose of the stolen items ?  Gareth has mentioned high end items,so would they perhaps be stolen to order.Presumably they are useful only in terms of cash value to the thieves and have to be disposed of at some time or place.

EBay and swap meets are the obvious but maybe too obvious .We can all help here if we knew what to look for whilst online and generally going to events connected with the hobby.

 

Profit margins are slim and no retailers can afford to lose stock like this. Still in mind is the theft of stock from Quorn at last June’s GCR event.I wonder whether there was any eventual outcome to that sad affair.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ian Hargrave said:

How might the thieves dispose of the stolen items ?  Gareth has mentioned high end items,so would they perhaps be stolen to order.

 


Very easily. Facebook marketplace, groups and gumtree are likely to be even easier to fence stolen gear through than eBay. Don’t assume high value items are stolen to order, these aren’t high spec vehicles our consumer gear, our ‘toys’ are relatively low value. All our retail prices will mean is the theif will realise a higher cash price at the end.

 

Shop staff look for unusual behaviour, did they need to bring a push chair in with them? Their cars parked outside the door....  Why have they got massive bags? Things that aren’t associated with the normal behaviour of us regulars.

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2 hours ago, PMP said:

 did they need to bring a push chair in with them? Their cars parked outside the door....  Why have they got massive bags? Things that aren’t associated with the normal behaviour of us regulars.

 

Have you been to an exhibition lately Paul?!!!, all traits getting more common.

 

Mike.

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Not been to one for about two weeks, so doubt much has changed in that time apart from bog rolls are likely  to be targeted too.

 

I mentioned ‘shop staff’ because a good amount of gear has been taken from retail premises, (see above). Call me cynical but if a family and buggy appear in a shop, and there’s no logic to bringing the buggy in, no kid using it, and amazingly after they leave a large amount of product has gone missing, I might just wonder what was in the buggy on the way out.

Edited by PMP
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Email from UK Model Shops Directory

 

- Hi Folks,

I have been advised by Trains4U in Peterborough that there are some low life people going round the country shoplifting from various Model Shops.
Here is what they have sent to me -
"I am [contacting] you as we had a couple of shoplifters in on Wednesday.  We didn’t realise they had stolen anything until Thursday, but we have CCTV of them taking products.  The thing is, it isn’t just our shop they have stolen from.We are now aware of several model shops being affected, including Cheltenham, Durham Trains, Footplate (Kidderminster), The Goods Yard (Tuxford), TigerTaz Models  and Roundhouse Engineering (Doncaster).  They had been asked to leave AGR Models before they could take anything.
They aren’t only targeting model railways.  I understand that a shop in Chester-le-street had radio control equipment and models stolen.
With that in mind, I am hoping that as you have the most comprehensive directory of all types of model shop, you might be able to alert as many owners as possible to be vigilant as this couple appear to be touring the country.
It is worth noting that they are currently driving a silver LHD Peugeot 407SW (Estate) with continental plates, English is not their first language.

We had a visit late Wednesday afternoon (4.03.20) by this couple.
The woman took a DCC Concepts Cobalt Alpha Central priced at £129.95 & a Hornby Brighton Belle Coach Pack priced at £162.00. She went behind the counter & took them while he kept watch as we were busy with other customers in the shop.
The police have been informed but please do share this as we have just heard that they have stolen from 2 other model shops, as well as Model Railway Shows.
Also, they do change their appearance as we have seen the photos from the other retailers but they are easy to recognise."

So please be vigilant and might be an idea to print off the images for display in your shop or at least make all your staff aware of these people.

Please note I am sending this email as a complete one off. I very, very rarely send out any bulk emails except for the regular biennial update reminder. So there is no need for any unsubscriptions as it is unlikely I will use this again soon.

Best Regards,
Adrian Hall

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If they engage with staff, are they knowledgable about items or products? Or just opportunists with little or no knowledge of the various brands or models?

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they are currently driving a silver LHD Peugeot 407SW (Estate) with continental plates, English is not their first language,

 

Are they  on a circular tour of England, and  possibly making their way South for the Tunnel back to their homeland?

If so,  then London/Kent beware!

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Puzzling why they are targeting model railway shops though , unless they are thieving to order.  They must have some knowledge/outlet for the goods , I mean I don't know the worth of a DCC Concepts Cobalt Alpha Central. Its a bit of an odd thing to steal, no?

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4 hours ago, Pandora said:

If they engage with staff, are they knowledgable about items or products? Or just opportunists with little or no knowledge of the various brands or models?

Not really. Came in. Asking how much a midland pullman set was, moaned it was expensive.

Then were asking for sets for around £100 or so, then picked up a set of hst powercars and asked about those.

think they then realised that having 3 sets of eyes on them was too much so they briskly left. 
you could see they were shifty from the start

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1 hour ago, rob D2 said:

Looking at them, I could easily summize about what country they are from.

 

Usual rule applies - if something looks out of place it probably is

 

 

Not all Swindonians look like that

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I suppose model shops are an easier to steal from  and less prospect of detection  than many other  larger mall shops which nearly always have security  by  plain clothed and uniformed floorwalkers , also the relarively high value of railway products for a small boxes,  eg a Farish loco for £110 which will hide in a coatsleeve 

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14 minutes ago, rob D2 said:

Hmmmmmm...

 

6C7F4761-A3DF-4AF7-86EF-F84730671CE9.jpeg

 

 

They are based in a fictional Cotswold village not Swindon

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1 hour ago, 40F said:

 

 

They are based in a fictional Cotswold village not Swindon

Yeah, I know, it’s very close to Swindon and she’s a swindon supporter

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53 minutes ago, jcredfer said:

I spent 6 months teaching in Swindon.....  behaviour was, err, rather lively.  I in the first week there were 7 panes of glass, in my classroom, smashed in the windows facing the playground.  On the Friday, I sought out the Caretaker, to apologise for the damage, which was doubtless caused by the response to my arrival.  He smiled quietly and said "You needn't be bothered, they must like you, the other classrooms have had far more than 7 broken!'  It didn't take long to discover that the pupils were delightful characters, highly receptive to some straightforward, honest information and answers to their questions.....  

 

...  however, such communication was hardly the city norm.  I watched a senior member of staff remonstrate at one lass, for some misdemeanour, while she just shouted back at him.  Eventually she had heard enough and stormed off, with a few "choice words" in his direction.  I was some distance away down the corridor, so she had stopped yelling, by the time she passed me.  So, as she passed, I quietly said "Hi, what was that about then?'  Reply, "Huh, some idiotic little rule and he thinks it's ok to shout his head off.  Don't have any effect, he don't realise that's wot I get the moment I open the door when I get home, every day".  

 

I wasn't the only member of staff to be "informed" with very similar comments.  It was hardly surprising that they responded positively to being treated like human beings, with straightforward information, reasons given for requests for what was being asked of them, listening to what they asked and honest replies to them.  Once they found someone they could trust, [I certainly wasn't the only one] they would often come with all sorts of questions - all sorts!  :bad:

 

Six months experience of wonderful people, thank you Swindon.

 

 Julian

 

Good to hear, but it’s definitely not a “ city “

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1 hour ago, rob D2 said:

Good to hear, but it’s definitely not a “ city “

 

With apologies to the purists, you are quite right, my slip of accuracy.  The population of Swindon have been trying to claim the title for many decades.  Indeed it may be large enough and productive enough [and was/is a major hub of industry for many years].  Apparently the C of E has not yet appointed a high enough ranking cleric to satisfy the wishes of the populous, so, until then, Swindon will have to remain - patient.

 

Julian

 

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On 08/03/2020 at 16:17, PMP said:

Not been to one for about two weeks, so doubt much has changed in that time apart from bog rolls are likely  to be targeted too.

 

I mentioned ‘shop staff’ because a good amount of gear has been taken from retail premises, (see above). Call me cynical but if a family and buggy appear in a shop, and there’s no logic to bringing the buggy in, no kid using it, and amazingly after they leave a large amount of product has gone missing, I might just wonder what was in the buggy on the way out.

Sorry but from 20 years in retail that comment is way off the mark. Very rare will you find a family with a buggy out shoplifting. Far too slow to get away and out quickly. You will often get the accidental picking up of items by children which are often brought back by embarrassed parents. 
 

Couples/pairs working together is common especially to distract retailers. Asking to get items so they create time/ counting of cash handed over/ Daisy chaining are all common practice.

 

You will always get the opportunists o there own of all ages and backgrounds. 
 

The key is vigilance to everyone sadly.

 

 

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