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‘It makes me feel sick’ - Garden centre targeted by fraudsters using counterfeit notes

PUBLISHED: 14:30 22 November 2018

Thetford Garden Centre is undergoing extensive work to improve during their 30th anniversary year.

Thetford Garden Centre is undergoing extensive work to improve during their 30th anniversary year.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

A manager of a garden centre hit by fraudsters who paid for goods with counterfeit notes and tricked staff into handing over more cash has said the incident made him “feel sick”.

Thetford Garden Centre’s marketing manager Shane Hinkley with director Lucy Nixon and Susan Richardson in one of the hospital’s courtyard gardenThetford Garden Centre’s marketing manager Shane Hinkley with director Lucy Nixon and Susan Richardson in one of the hospital’s courtyard garden

Thetford Garden Centre, on Kilverstone Road, was targeted by two conmen on Wednesday with counterfeit notes being used to pay for goods and an innocent customer potentially losing £40.

The two men came into the store with both buying goods with counterfeit notes, before swapping the change with more fake notes, costing the store £130.

Shane Hinkley, business development manager at the garden centre, said one of the men paid with a fake £50 note at the centre’s information centre, before the other scammed a till worker with a second fake note.

He said: “It is upsetting because we work hard for what we have got and what we create.

“We employ a lot of people from around the area as well, around 70 or 80 staff, and it is hard when you are just trying to make a living and when something like this happens it is a bit of a knock and upsets the staff as well.”

Mr Hinkley is trying to track down one innocent customer who may have unwittingly handed over £40 in return for two fake £20 notes after a till worker was unable to change the cash.

“I feel really sorry for him. He has been really kind to give this guy £40 and he may have been given two fake £20 notes in return.

“As a family business it is one thing to hit a business but to hit someone who has just come in from the street, I find that more upsetting than them coming to us.”

He added: “We are loyal to our customers as much as they are to us. As the owner of a business just thinking he has been given fake money while on our premises really makes me feel sick.”

A spokesman for Norfolk Police said: “We are investigating an incident of fraud at where two men used counterfeit notes at Thetford Garden Centre on Wednesday, November 21.

“It is believed the two men left the area in a dark blue BMW. We are appealing for anyone with information to contact police using 101 or by contacting Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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