Guests at a recent Crimestoppers event fell victim to an expert pickpocket and witnessed fellow visitors being ripped off in card games and dice tricks. But it was all in a good cause. The charity had invited Alexis Conran, presenter of BBC3's scam-busting TV show The Real Hustle, to host the event and reveal the secrets behind commonplace criminal tricks and cons.
Conran ran a 'Beat the Cheat' table, where he showed how various card and dice tricks can never be won and offered crime prevention tips. He also gave a speech emphasising his support for the work of Crimestoppers.
He was joined by magician and pickpocketing entertainer James Freedman, who performed tricks on guests. A half day visit to the set of The Real Hustle, including a chance to participate in a scam that will be filmed for the programme, was auctioned for £300.
Crimestoppers approached Conran because The Real Hustle complements the charity's work. "The programme empowers the public to recognise and report scams and cons," says Michele Harris, PR and marketing manager for Crimestoppers. "The Office of Fair Trading has already reported that it has found an increase in calls as a result of the programme."
The event, which was sponsored by casino operator London Clubs International, was held at the headquarters of the Magic Circle, the worldwide organisation for magicians.