Police in Cookstown are warning members of the equestrian community not to get sucked in by a “betting shop scam” being run by a “horse dealer from England”.
The PSNI said the man offered to buy horses from someone who placed an ad on a buying and selling site, and said he would pay them via bank transfer.
But when it came to the exchange, it has been reported he then told the seller it would be “easier to get paid from a local betting shop” but that he owed them money which he had to meet his friend and pay, before they got their cash.
Speaking about the incident, local Crime Prevention Officer Joanne Smyth said: “A member of the public placed an advertisement for the sale of horses in a well-known buying and selling website.
“A man purporting to be a horse dealer from England responded and offered to buy the horses and make a payment via bank transfer.
“The buyer then advised the seller that they wished to change to payment method. He said he worked with racehorses and had won a considerable sum. He said it would be easier to get paid this way from a local betting shop.
Some have been betting shop scams, others have been accusing the seller of selling a stolen horse that belongs to a friend. All usually involve the seller of the horse putting up money up front - PSNI
“However, he owed the betting shop a sum of cash which the seller would have to meet his friend and pay before the seller would get cash from their horses.”
A spokesperson for the police said they are aware that others may have been targeted in this way.
“Some have been betting shop scams,” they said, “others have been accusing the seller of selling a stolen horse that belongs to a friend. All usually involve the seller of the horse putting up money up front.
“Please be aware of this and similar scams and if you need any crime prevention advice or wish to report a similar incident, please call the 101 number.”