Hunt for fake Big Issue man

A BOGUS Big Issue seller has been operating in Harrogate.

The man, believed to be of Asian origin, has been targeting businesses in the town since the beginning of April.

Police said he has been entering businesses, including estate agents and hairdressers, placing a bundle of Big Issues on the counter and offering to sell copies.

But once he’s left, staff have discovered the theft of mobile phones.

Jim Allen, an investigator in the Crime Management Unit at York, said: “If this man enters your shop please contact North Yorkshire Police immediately.

“We would also like to hear from any other victims or anyone who may have been approached by the man and ask them to come forward as soon as possible.”

The thief has been reported in Harrogate, Ripon and York. He is described as male, 5ft 7in tall with a small build.

He has short black hair and was unshaven at the time of the offences. It is believed he may be of Asian origin and speaks in broken English.

Mr Allen said: “It is not believed that the man who is committing these thefts is an official Big Issue salesperson as he does not show any identification or wear the correct uniform. Additionally, The Big Issue is sold on the street and salespeople do not enter businesses to sell the magazine.”

Anybody who can help the police with their investigation is asked to call the Crime Management Unit at York on 0845 6060247 quoting reference number 12110079715, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.