Buried treasure targeted by criminals using Croydon Advertiser name to cash in on riots
CRIMINALS tried to use the Croydon Advertiser to cash in on the riots which wrecked parts of the borough last summer.
Gold jewellery, understood to be worth millions of pounds, has now been safely recovered from underneath the charred remains of Albemarle & Bond in London Road, West Croydon.
But it could have been a different story after criminals learned of the buried treasure and hatched a plan to make it their own.
Posing as a reporter, one member phoned up trying to find out about the salvage operation.
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But their efforts were rumbled when they used the name of our defunct sister paper The Post, which ceased publication in 2010.
The pawnbrokers' chief executive Barry Stevenson said: "We had phone calls to the shop, purporting to be from the local press, asking when the safes were going to be lifted out, so they could send a photographer."
The matter was reported to police who contacted the Advertiser in December.
And we were able to confirm nobody from the company had made such a phone call.
Editor Glenn Ebrey said: "The fact that criminal gangs are trying to use our paper and, even worse, the riots to make a quick buck is pretty distasteful.
"I'd like to make it clear that neither our reporters nor any other representatives from the Croydon Advertiser have, at any time, been involved in this sort of skullduggery.
"If you receive a call from someone using the Advertiser's name at fear it's a scam, please inform us or, even better, call the police."
It has been reported that five safes were recovered beneath 45 tons of rubble at the fire-hit shop just before Christmas.
Nearly 4,500 items are thought to have remained intact with customers now being reunited with their possessions which they thought had gone forever.
Joanna Collins, area manager for Albemarle & Bond, added: "We had customers on the shop floor crying with happiness, which set me off.
"Most of the pieces were fine, apart from the smell of smoke."
The building still remains surrounded by scaffolding and boarded up, with the shop having relocated to opposite West Croydon train station.