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

Latest Ilford News Stories


A primary school refused to give a nine-year-old pupil his lunch because he had a £2 debt on his account.

A primary school teaching assistant who brutally killed his wife’s cat in their Ilford home on Christmas Day and his neighbour’s cat hours later has been banned from owning pets for five years.


Redbridge Conservatives promised to bring back meals on wheels, scrap first car parking permits and support residents with an affordable housing scheme, at the launch of their election manifesto.


Redbridge Estate agents Sandra Davidson’s hassle-free service guarantees rental income for your property, whether it is occupied or not. Here they share details of the Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it can help you avoid the regular stresses associated with managing a let.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now