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Each year many thousands of transactions take place on the street or at the front door as a direct result of an advert that was placed on a website such as Ebay or Gumtree.
In May and June 2016 a series of robberies occurred in Croydon and each one involved meeting a buyer for a product that had been advertised for sale on Gumtree.
Consequently Croydon Police issued some sensible guidance on the Met Police Website. I have since slightly amended this advice in order to offer it to all of you who might be thinking of selling stuff to strangers in the street.
- Agree to meet the buyer in a public place where there will be plenty of people around
- Do not be drawn into remote areas
- Be aware of your surroundings and avoid places that have poor street lighting or places where your meeting could be shielded from view by high walls, overgrown hedges etc.
- Meet during busy times and preferably in daylight hours
- Tell someone where you are going and who you are meeting. If possible go with someone else.
- Do not allow any potential buyers control of the item before you are certain they are genuine
- Keep a record of the seller's details including their email address and phone number. Also, without being obvious, make a mental note of their description (Tattoos, scars, jewellery etc) and surreptitiously record the registration of any vehicle they might have.
- Keep your phone switched on
- Dial 999 if you feel threatened
- If you are uncomfortable with any aspect of the meeting place or the person trust your instincts, do not stay or do not agree to meet and cancel the sale.