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Not interested in fakes

By Lucie Robson

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my friend Mike who was sick as six dogs after one too many plane journeys to the UK. He’d picked up a bug from a fellow passenger.

The good news is Mike can talk again and his eyes have stopped watering. The bad news is he has had a run-in with an aggressive hawker and he wasn’t too impressed with the non­-response of the police.

The incident happened in the parking lot of one of the local shopping complexes as he was walking in broad daylight, laden with shopping bags, with his partner to their car.

A man approached him and tried to tout a heap of fake Rolexes to which Mike and his partner said they weren’t interested. It’s usually at this point that such a hawker would disappear, but this one didn’t.

First, indicating Mike and his partner’s shopping bags, he belligerently informed them that they had plenty of money and were they sure they would not like a fake Rolex.

No they would not, Mike firmly informed the touter and tried to get to the car.

The hawker stood in his path, got right into his face and began to get abusive.

Just as his hostility and persistence were making my two friends nervous, the hawker decided he had had enough and headed towards a car where a few fellow hawkers were waiting.

Mike told me he had been a hair’s breadth away from walloping the man such was his aggression, but the presence of a gang of mates had put him off. Mike did make a note of the car’s registration plate though, before it took off to another part of the vast parking lot presumably to another patch to push tacky fake watches on someone else.

At his point, I’ll say that Mike is a gentleman. He holds the door open for you, takes your coat and forget about paying for coffee when you’re in his presence (although I have managed once or twice by subterfuge).

This quality made him concerned not just for him and his partner, but for other shoppers who might be vulnerable, such as a mum alone with a couple of kids or an elderly person. He couldn’t stand the thought of the hawkers homing in on and intimidating them.

So, he got on his mobile to the police and asked if they could come to the parking lot to deal with the hawkers (by the way the parking lot is about six minutes’ max from the police station).

He was told that the police could not do anything until he went to the station and filed a report.

“But they might have gone by then,” Mike told the police. “Can’t you come down here and I’ll file the report on the spot and point them out.”

“No,” was the reply.

Mike then explained he had the registration number of the car and could he at least give that over the phone for the police to follow up.
No. Mike had to come up to the station in person to file a report and provide the police with the car registration number.

In the end, Mike was so frustrated he did nothing. I have heard that the aggressive fake Rolex b*****s are still hassling shoppers.

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