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THE trade have issued a warning to colleagues about a criminal gang operating in the Pimlico Road area who are known to target antique shops.

The gang, who were spotted twice last week, on Tuesday and Wednesday, enter shops singly but carry mobiles and communicate closely with the other members, occasionally re-grouping at a position around a corner out of sight.

They ask about expensive looking objects, enquiring about prices and usually claim to be collectors. They then leave, returning perhaps the next day to distract the dealer and snatch the object before making off with it on foot. The operation usually takes a few days.

At least one dealer recognised members of the gang because they operated the same scam in the area last year.

The gang are all white, aged around 30 and have London accents. One is slim, about 5ft 11in tall, with very short dark hair. He was wearing a short-sleeved summer shirt with small red & white checks, jean-style trousers and trainers. Another was also slim and about 5ft 11in. He had short fair hair, and wore a smart grey suit. The third member of the gang is described as 5ft 10in tall, with brown hair, sunglasses, and a dark suit. The final member is shorter and stocky, about 5ft 8in or 5ft 9in tall, with medium length dark hair, sideburns and possibly a moustache. He was wearing a vivid green short-sleeved shirt, dark trousers and brown sunglasses.