Con artists are preying on students, tourists and others in Brighton once again, police have warned, with the “three cups” scam.
Sussex Police issued a fresh warning yesterday (Friday 23 June) that they have been reported tricking people out of money by the Palace Pier.
The force said: “Police are warning people to be aware of a scam called the ‘Three cup scam’ in Brighton.
“Last year police received a high number of calls about the scam operating in the city centre and on the seafront.
“On Thursday (22 June) it was reported that the scammers using the three cup scam were conning tourists out of money near the Brighton Palace Pier.”
Inspector Brian McCarthy said: “This is not a new scam and has been reported to police throughout the UK.
“Videos can be found online detailing how this scam works but basically a three cup scammer will normally operate with a small mat, three small cups and a small sponge ball.
“The ball is placed under a cup and the cups are moved around the mat. The ball is often shown during movement.
“The customer is then asked to guess what cup is hiding the ball but not before having to give between £20 and £50, with the chance to double your money if you guess the correct location of the ball.
“However, at the last moment and using sleight of hand the ball is removed from the cup.
“Stooges are often used to simulate a winning customer and to draw a crowd. The stooges also act as distractions and spotter for approaching police officers.
“People have fallen victim to this scam and large groups of students have been specifically targeted as well as locals.
“We would encourage anybody who sees this act to call the police on 101 and report it. Officers are aware and targeting patrols to try to catch this group.
“Don’t be taken in. This is a con and a total waste of money. If you see it, report it.”