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In the Antiques Trade Gazette No 1428, March 4, 2000, dealers were advised not to hand over goods at their shop that had been paid for on the phone by credit card, unless they were presented with the card and means of identification by its holder.

In the latest incident, an antique dealer in Camden Passage, Islington fell victim to a woman who paid over the phone for goods quoting a genuine credit card number from another person’s card without their knowledge.

The con took place after a white woman of petite build, standing around 5ft 5in high with dark shoulder-length curly hair, entered the north London shop. A few weeks later she telephoned the shop quoting a credit card number and address in order to purchase a number of antiques valued at £14,000.

Items picked up later in the day by her male accomplice included an 800 standard German silver tray c.1900, a pair of silver candelabra marked for Copenhagen c.1931 and a pair of late-19th century French gilt metal clock garniture by Moreau, including a distinctive pair of cherub five-branch candelabra, 2ft 6in (76cm) high on marble plinths.

Other items of Dutch and German silver were also taken – photographs should appear in a future edition of the Gazette.

Dealers should be made aware that their agreement with the credit card company will only allow them to deliver goods bought over the telephone to the billing address of the cardholder – a genuine mail order, assuming (as in this case when the dealer called Barclaycard to seek clearance) that the credit card company have all the necessary information to authorise a transaction is insufficient. If someone comes to collect the goods from the shop, then the whole deal should be treated as a new transaction. The dealer needs to see the card with the number on it together with identity documents relating to the credit card.

Any information regarding this incident should be directed to Detective Constable Deborah McCormac at Islington Police station on 0171 7041212.