Wine merchant hit by delivery scam

A north London wine merchant is urging retailers to be on their guard after more than a thousand cases of French wine were stolen from a delivery driver.

Thieves intercepted the driver on his way to Haslemere Wines in Upper Edmonton early yesterday morning and duped him in to handing over nine pallets of wine worth £40,000.

Owner Avie Yiangou said: "It's happened to us three or four times before. They approach the driver and say 'are you for Haslemere Wines?' when he says 'yes' they say 'you can't unload here, you'll have to do it elsewhere' and they take him to another estate.

"I'm just amazed that at this time of year we've lost a consignment of wines. We put on the delivery note, do not deliver to any other warehouse or premises, but

I don't know what happened."

The wine taken is Le Reve Cotes de Gascogne and Vin de l'Herault which Haslemere Wines buys direct from producers in France. A back label states 'specially selected and shipped for Haslemere Wines'.

Yiangou said: "It's a possibility that the wines might work their way into retail, but this is an exclusive label that we sell to restaurants for their house wine, so it will be easy to spot.

"I also thought it's something other retailers and merchants should be aware of in case it happens to them."

A spokeswoman for Haringey police, who are investigating the theft, urged traders to warn delivery drivers about the scam.

Anyone with information should call DS Nwachukwu at Haringey police on 0208 345 0738, Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or David Smith at Haslemere Wines on 0208 8809200.