Pawnshops are easy pickings for thieves disposing stolen goods

Published by Rob Goodman on 25 March 2015.
Last updated on 25 March 2015

Gold and money

The ease with which burglars can dispose of stolen goods in high street pawnshops has been revealed.

Undercover researchers were able to pawn household items commonly stolen including gold and computer games in 60% of brokers without any form of identification.

Some 55% of pawnbrokers didn't ask for proof of legal ownership and not one store asked where the items had come from.

Churchill Home Insurance, which conducted the research, also interviewed convicted thieves who confirmed that pawnshops are a major channel for disposing of stolen merchandise.

One said: "Pawn shops... they were used yes, it was surprisingly easy. Too easy if I am honest."

Another said: "I have done pawn brokers a few times and I never had a problem."

The research also revealed that criminals shifting their ill-gotten gains through pawnbrokers are aware they generally get less than half the retail value of items but are willing to use the shops because of the ease with which they can dispose of stolen goods.

Ease

Martin Scott, head of Churchill Home Insurance, said: "The ease with which burglars are able to dispose of stolen merchandise on the British high street is truly frightening.  

"If we can close the doors on stolen goods disposal, making it as difficult as possible for burglars to make money, we can make this type of crime less attractive. Burglars are able to convert goods into cash in just a matter of minutes, because employees in cash conversion outlets are failing to make sufficient checks for identification."

The undercover sellers visited 50 pawnshops in the south east of England to conduct the research.

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