A POLICE investigation is under way after a man attempted to defraud North Berwick Post Office – only to lose a substantial amount of money himself!

Only thanks to the watchfulness of postmaster Aumir Javed did the scammer fail in his ‘distraction theft’ attempt at the High Street branch on Friday, October 27.

CCTV footage from the branch shows a man hand over 900 Euros to the cashier and ask for it to be changed into Sterling.

Mr Javed took the Euros then passed £790 under the security screen to the customer, who then claimed he had changed his mind and asked for the Euros to be returned.

The video, which has been viewed more than 2,000 times on YouTube, then shows the customer pick up the UK bank notes with his right hand before he quickly moves a bundle of them into his left hand.

He then returns the Sterling in his right hand to Mr Javed – in the apparent hope that the postmaster won’t notice that he has taken a sneaky ‘cut’ for himself.

But when Mr Javed starts to count the returned money, the man places the notes he had attempted to conceal – about £300 – on the counter.

The would-be fraudster then left – but without his original 900 Euros!

East Lothian Courier:

The incident took place at North Berwick Post Office

And Mr Javed, who has worked at the town’s Post Office for more than a decade, said: “He had asked me for English notes and then he said something about posting them to someone, which I thought was a bit strange.

“Then when he asked for the money back, I started counting it and then I noticed the money on the counter.

“That’s when I realised what was going on, so I tried to walk away and pretended to phone the police.

“He didn’t leave so I thought, ‘Right, I’m really going to have to phone them’.

“I wasn’t scared, it was more just adrenaline as I was working on my own at the time.

“I’ve been here 11 years and I’ve never seen anything like that before.

“We are told about things like this, but they are more common in big [Post] Offices, not ones like this.”

Mr Javed, who lives in the town, said the man left the shop a couple of minutes later, and it was only a few minutes later that police arrived.

As well as contacting the police, Mr Javed posted a video of the incident online to alert others. His actions have been praised on community website group North Berwick News.

Sylvia Beaumont said: “Well done for spotting what he was up to”, while Helen Russell said: “Perfectly handled too – I’d have probably got suckered by that.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police in East Lothian are asking business owners to be vigilant after an attempted distraction theft from a business premises in North Berwick.

"The incident happened around 12.50pm on Friday, October 27, in the High Street area.

"Anyone with information or who witnesses similar suspicious behaviour is asked to contact police immediately.”