Police tracing worker after Romford family business loses £100k in two-year scratchcard scam

Police are looking for this man in connection with the theft of scratchcards. Picture: Met Police

Police are looking for this man in connection with the theft of scratchcards. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

Police are trying to trace a man in connection with the theft of scratchcards over a two-year period that meant a family-run business had to fork out £100,000.

Officers have been searching for a former employee for 11 months and are now asking for the public to help trace him to aid them with their inquiries.

Havering Police have said the man gave his name as Imran Patel and his age as 34, but he may go by other aliases. It is understood he lived in Ilford when he worked in Quadrant News, in South Street, Romford, and still has family there.

Det Con Tara Wilson said Mr Patel left the area in October last year shortly after the thefts were brought to light.

She told the Recorder thousands of scratchcards had been stolen from the store since 2012 and that the owners had to also pay manufacturers Camelot for lost winnings.

Police believe that the scratchcards were stolen when they were delivered to the newsagents and were then used to make illicit gains that would have run into “thousands of pounds”.

Det Con Wilson said that the thief managed to get away with the crime for so long because the owners had recently purchased the shop and were “fairly naive”.

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She said: “We have had certain leads but they have been fruitless.

“For the family, to bring and end to this and even if there’s no financial recuperation, knowing someone is brought to justice would be fantastic.

“It’s a very high-value theft and I want to establish this guy’s identity to help us progress this case further.”

If anyone knows Mr Patel or has information as to his whereabouts they should contact Det Con Wilson at Havering CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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