Redbridge Council warns shoppers not to fall for the ‘three cup trick’

PUBLISHED: 13:30 11 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:49 11 December 2017

Shell game in High Street North, East Ham (CREDIT: Clive Power)

Shell game in High Street North, East Ham (CREDIT: Clive Power)

Clive Power

Shoppers in Redbridge have been warned by police not to fall for what is one of the oldest tricks in the book - the ‘three cup’ scam.

Con artists have been seen operating in areas including Ilford Lane and have been ripping customers off with an ancient magic trick.

The trick involves hiding a ball under a cup and then getting members of the public to place bets as to which cup it’s under.

However, the ball has already been removed by sleight of hand earlier in the trick and so the guess is never right.

The scammers even use their own friends to pose as winning customers and give the impression that the game is fair.

People who are lured into taking part are charged anything from £5 to £20 to place a bet, so it can be very lucrative for the con artists.

Police have made a number of arrests but are advising residents to remain vigilant.

Councillor Sheila Bain, cabinet member for civic pride, said; “These scammers will feel the full force of the law if caught.

“We have very sophisticated CCTV in all the hot spots and our enforcement officers are constantly patrolling, so we will catch up with the people who are doing this.’

To report anti-social behaviour call the council’s enforcement team on 020 8478 4679 or email

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