Beware the biscuit tin conman

A BRAZEN conman who rips off businesses by getting them to advertise in his fake newspaper has now targeted a Dagenham company. The scammer has a friendly manner and comes across as trustworthy – he lulls prospective clients into a false sense of securit

A BRAZEN conman who rips off businesses by getting them to advertise in his fake newspaper has now targeted a Dagenham company.

The scammer has a friendly manner and comes across as trustworthy - he lulls prospective clients into a false sense of security by always carrying a biscuit tin under his arm.

When he walks into a meeting he says "I've got the biscuits; you get the tea" in a jovial manner.

But his banter is a cover for a malicious con say staff at Essex Wrought Iron in Wantz Road, Dagenham.


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They lost �2,070 when they placed an advertisement in his "newspaper" the South East Advertiser.

The man, who goes by the name Mark Dagnell, approached the company in April this year.

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He met with one of the managers and left a copy of the paper with her promising their ad would be published at the end of May.

But although they paid by cheque and received a receipt they never received another copy of the newspaper.

Essex Wrought Iron's spokeswoman said: "Come June I started to get suspicious so I decided to give the man a call.

"But I found that his phone line had been cut off.

"So I went through the copy of the newspaper he had left and phoned the other people who had advertised in there.

"As soon as I mentioned the South East Advertiser and the gentleman with the biscuit tin under his arm they all said, 'not you as well'."

Angry at being ripped off, Essex Wrought Iron staff decided to do a little investigation work.

Through a service called Company House, where new businesses are registered, they discovered that the South East Advertiser was dissolved the day before they handed over a �2,070 cheque.

They also found out that a Mark Dagnell was the director of 11 other companies which were later dissolved.

Essex Wrought Iron's spokeswoman said: "It makes me angry to think he is out there taking peoples' money and hasn't been caught.

"I just want to warn other businesses in the borough that he may be targeting this area now so be careful.

"He is quite short and stout and looks like a cross between Danny Devito and Russell Grant."

Mr Dagnell is about 5ft 4inches, 46-years-old, slightly balding and with a London accent.

He wears a chocolate brown suit and tan shoes.

If you have been targeted by the biscuit tin scammer call the POST on 0208 477 3778.

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