doncaster town centre traders are warning shoppers to be wary of a new scam in which £1 bottles of perfume are being sold on the street for up to £50.
The con artists are reported to have been buying products from bargain goods store Poundworld on the Market Place and then selling them on for inflated prices to nearby shoppers.
Eyewitnesses have reported that the fraudsters have harassed shoppers into shelling out for what they are led to believe is a bargain price for the goods.
Elderly shoppers have appeared distressed as they are pursued down the street by the men - with several victims of the scam said to be paying up because they felt “intimidated”.
Richard Huby, owner of the Paper House in Market Place, said: “It’s such a scam and we really want to put out a warning to people not to be taken in by it. “It’s also been really bad for trade in the town centre and obviously does put people off.
“I think with Christmas coming, it’s only going to get worse and we just want to get the message out to people to be wary.”
The scam is reported to be taking place regularly, usually from about 11am.
The group carrying out the scam is said to buy the products and then put labels on them for much higher prices in an effort to convince shoppers that they are getting a massive discount.
A market trader, who did not want to be named, said: “I see them doing it regularly.
“I’ve even seen them once trying to sell to one elderly lady while another man tried to take things from her handbag.
“It is really bad for trade and more needs to be done to stop this kind of thing happening.”
Poundworld manager Kathy Pritchard confirmed that there had been problems with people buying products and selling them on.
She said: “We were aware of reports of this happening and it has been dealt with.
“If they come in, then they’re sent back out again.”
A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said: “We have been made aware of incidents taking place in the town centre and are conducting enquiries.” Anyone who believes they may have been deceived by this type of offence is urged to report them immediately by calling the police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.