Beware of Kingston scam beggar

Kingston residents are being warned to beware of an aggressive beggar with an unlikely sob story.<--break->“>The man – described as aged around 35, ‘scrawny and haggard’, and approximately six feet tall – goes around Kingston in a hurry, trying to attract the attention of passers-by by calling out: “Excuse me! Excuse me!”</p>

<p>If a pedestrian stops to assist him, the man – who pretends to be distressed – tells a story involving a car crash that has happened that day, that has put his injured wife and child in hospital in another part of London.</p>

<p>He then begs for money for public transport fares, supposedly so that he can get to the hospital.</p>

<p>The scam came to light after he stopped the same Kingston resident twice in a month, with the same story each time.</p>

<p>The resident, who asked not to be identified, said: “The first time he stopped me was on Denmark Street one night in February.</p>

<p>“His distress seemed genuine but I smelled a rat when he asked for £45 for the taxi to a hospital in Buckinghamshire.</p>

<p>“He even offered to escort me to the cashpoint so I could get the money out for him.</p>

<p>“He had on him an expensive-looking touchscreen phone, on which he showed me pictures of a woman and child that he claimed were his wife and daughter. I politely declined to help him.</p>

<p>“The next time it happened was near the back of Lidl’s on Wheatfield Way on the evening of March 4. Same thing again: Rushing up, shouting ‘Excuse me!’ and coming out with this story about a car crash and his wife and child being in hospital, I forget where.</p>

<p>“This time, he wanted four bus fares. When I challenged him, he became verbally abusive before running off shouting at me. I wasn’t frightened but I can see how someone else might be intimidated into parting with cash.”</p>

<p>A police spokeswoman said: “Our advice would be that after being approached by this person, you should say ‘no’ to giving any money and walk off. In most cases the person will run off if you are persistent in not giving any money but if the person starts to get aggressive then state that you are calling the police and dial 999. Whilst on patrol we will look out for this person.”</p>

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