DIY Fraudster Sought

A suspected serial fraudster is being sought by police investigating crimes amounting to thousands of pounds against the DIY retailer Wickes.

Police believe that on 37 separate occasions, a man has defrauded the chain by taking items off the shelf and claiming a refund or credit note for a product he has not bought. Stores in Sussex and Kent are among those targetted

The crimes were committed at Wickes stores across the country between August last year and January this year, Sussex Police said.

Images of a man police want to question have been released by officers, who believe the amount defrauded totals around £9,000.

Pc Richard Valder-Davis, of Sussex Police, said: ``This man appears to be travelling across the South East and further to carry out these frauds at Wickes stores.

``He enters the shops and takes an item from the shelves, generally kitchen items, then takes them to the till and claims to have previously bought the product but no longer has the receipt.

``He is then given a refund or credit note. We are keen to identify this man or anyone who may have information about who is carrying out these frauds.''

The man is described as white, in his late 40s and between 5ft 8in and 5ft 10in. He is described as looking ``unclean'' with black teeth, some of which are missing.

He has worn a green farmer-style cap with grey hair showing at the side, with black or grey facial stubble. He has also worn a grey scarf, green duffle-style coat and blue jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to call Sussex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The stores targetted include Eastbourne, Hailsham, Worthing , Dartford and Bexhill