Three salons targeted in cut and run scam effort by women on same day

PUBLISHED: 15:13 11 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:13 11 July 2017

Stylist, Joanne Hatcher who tackled a scammer, with salon owner, Lisa Peach at Saffron Style. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT

Stylist, Joanne Hatcher who tackled a scammer, with salon owner, Lisa Peach at Saffron Style. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT

Copyright © 2017 Celia Bartlett Photography. All rights reserved

It was a case of cut and run at three hairdressers in Saffron Walden on Wednesday, July 5.

Nikki Pearson in her salon in Pleasant Valley. Picture: CELIA BARTLETTNikki Pearson in her salon in Pleasant Valley. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT

In separate incidents three women customers with Irish accents had their long hair cut and coloured – then tried to leave without paying.

Two succeeded, helped by their husbands, but a third couple eventually paid up after salon staff called the police.

At Saffron Style in Cromwell Road, where the bill was £75, owner Lisa Peach said: “The client’s card was declined twice. She went to the toilet, I think to call her husband because they had planned the whole thing.

“They went to a cash point and he said he needed a fiver change – I went back to the salon to get it but when I came back he started complaining about the hair and getting aggressive.

Theresa Kinsey at work at The Holly Trees. Picture: CELIA BARTLETTTheresa Kinsey at work at The Holly Trees. Picture: CELIA BARTLETT

“I thought, we don’t know who we are dealing with here, so it’s better to just walk away.”

“I know this happened at other salons in town and I think they were all in cahoots.”

At Holly Tree’s in Cross Street, owned by Theresa Kinsey and Holly Rayner, the bill was £78.95.

Holly said she and the customer had been chatting away.

She said: “I know about her, she knows about me – it’s a bad feeling someone can do that to you.

“Her card was declined three times. I said why don’t you go to the bank – these things happen sometimes. She asked if she could use our phone to call her husband.

“He asked how long we would be there. He rang back later and said he would settle up the next day when they’d booked their children in, but they didn’t turn up.

“It’s clever the way they did it. She knew when she sat in the chair she wasn’t going to pay.”

At Nikki Pearson Hair and Beauty in Pleasant Valley, the couple were confronted by the staff after getting abusive.

Nikki said: “She started saying to staff, ‘are you f-ing talking about me?’. They were very shocked and her husband was very intimidating.

“They had no intention to pay but if they hadn’t been so rude, I wouldn’t have called the police, who were there in 10 minutes.

“I had said ‘if you are not going to pay, then just go’ but we had taken pictures of them and they were really bothered about that. In the end, they paid and made us delete the pictures.

“It was really stressful. The next day some of our customers came back to check we were alright.”

Essex Police said the incident was a civil matter.

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