‘We were scammed by a phoney publisher’ says Grantham businesswoman

Watergate Sewing Shop. Lesley Sparrow and Viki Gray. 553C
Watergate Sewing Shop. Lesley Sparrow and Viki Gray. 553C

FALLING victim to a scam has cost a small Grantham business £276 it can ill afford.

Lesley Sparrow runs Little Sew & Sew in Watergate, with her daughter Viki Gray. They teach sewing, knitting and crocheting, a venture they embarked upon in December last year.

Still finding their feet, they are appalled at being conned out of the money by crooks claiming to work for the police and fire services.

Lesley, 59, said: “We’ve only got a small advertising budget and they’ve blown 90 per cent of it.

“I’m more concerned that somebody else doesn’t get sucked in like we were.”

It was back in January when Lesley and Viki, 32, were called by someone claiming to work for Crime Aware. Lesley took the call and was soon taken in by the “very convincing” salesman who said the firm was publishing a Community Safety Journal quarterly on behalf of the police and fire and rescue services.

Lesley agreed to part with £276 for adverts to appear in all eight editions. She even received a proof copy to approve, which she did.

It was after receiving two further calls from the same firm, again asking if she would like to advertise, that the alarm bells started ringing and she called the police to be told she had been scammed.

A police spokesman said there had been a number of similar incidents across the country.

He said: “Lincolnshire Police does not commission, support, or have any financial ties to any magazines locally or nationally and any such claims are false. Anyone approached by any of these firms should contact us as soon as possible via the 101 non-emergency number.”