Shop Watch scheme helps catch fraudster

PUBLISHED: 13:03 25 August 2006 | UPDATED: 19:47 01 June 2010

THE traders Shop Watch scheme in Wisbech led to the arrest of fraudster Stuart Buswell after he used a stolen bank card to obtain nearly £2,000 worth of goods. Shopkeepers were alerted by radio when Buswell tried to use the card without its PIN number, a

THE traders' Shop Watch scheme in Wisbech led to the arrest of fraudster Stuart Buswell after he used a stolen bank card to obtain nearly £2,000 worth of goods.

Shopkeepers were alerted by radio when Buswell tried to use the card without its PIN number, and he was caught in Argos as he spent almost £350 on a TV and three mobile phones.

Appearing before Fenland magistrates on Tuesday, Buswell, 32, admitted stealing the card from his friend Frederick Lawrence in March on October 28 last year.

He further admitted five charges of obtaining property by deception, including two Playstations, toys and petrol, and asked for another 11 similar offences to be taken into consideration.

After Buswell was arrested, his room at the Ferry Project in Wisbech was searched. Items, including a Sony Playstation, DVDs, a DVD player and computer games, were discovered. Receipts showed Buswell had used Mr Lawrence's card to pay for them.

Mr Lawrence had considered Buswell a friend. He had left him in charge of his shop in the past, said prosecutor Nicola Ebbs. When Buswell fell on hard times he was allowed to stay with Mr and Mrs Lawrence in their caravan.

Mnitigating, Anita Waterman told the court: "This was out of character. He had separated from his partner. She had taken everything and he was left penniless. He saw the card and succumbed to temptation."

She said other occupants of the Ferry Project got to know that Buswell had the card. He was persuaded to use it by others, and was paid for the items he obtained.

"He feels he got sucked into it, and felt it would be difficult to stop."

Buswell, now living in Harpurhay, Manchester, was told he could be jailed and sentencing was adjourned until September 12 for a report to be prepared.

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