Fraud gang "targeted" Northumbria auctioneers

A court heard how a gang was so successful at committing frauds against an auction house in Northumbria that it turned its attention to a New York sale held by the auction house.

Auctioneers across the country were targeted by fraudsters using false identities to register as telephone bidders.

Stolen credit card details were also used to obtain watches and expensive jewellery.

In October 2010, the jury heard, Railton's Auction House, in Alnwick, Northumbria, was contacted by an Alistair Goldsmith - one false name used - where a successful bid was made for jewellery worth £20,000.

When he said he wanted to have the items collected the following day, the company became suspicious.

Suspicions were further raised after a passport and a driving licence details were supplied by "Mr Goldsmith", Mr Shellard said and, fortunately, the auction house did not fall victim to the fraud.