Tens of thousands of pounds worth of top-of-the-range Nikon cameras that went missing in a fraud involving a fake BBC purchase order have been recovered, Amateur Photographer (AP) can exclusively reveal.
City of London Police recovered four Nikon D3x cameras – each worth £6,000 – during a raid on a ‘lock-up’, according to Robert White Photographic which lost the equipment last month.
The Dorset-based store reported the D3x gear missing alongside four D3 camera bodies and four 14-24mm lenses.
A store spokeswoman said that, in a separate move, the D3 cameras and lenses have been returned to Robert White by another dealer who had bought the stolen gear from the fraudsters in good faith.
She confirmed that the serial numbers on all the equipment matches those of the stolen cameras.
‘It’s quite amazing. We were shocked to get them back so soon,’ she said.
The store praised the publicity generated by AP’s coverage of the story in helping to recover the missing cameras.
‘It got blanket coverage around the world. People in America were phoning us after seeing it on internet forums,’ added the spokeswoman.
Robert White, which is based in Poole, had received a faxed purchase order, purportedly from the BBC, and was told that a taxi would be sent to collect the gear because it was needed urgently.
It was similar to ones it had received from the BBC in the past and appeared genuine.
It later turned out that calls to a supplied contact extension number were being ‘re-directed to a mobile phone’ and the taxi delivery address was an old BBC studio address.
Asked whether the store had learned any lessons from the experience Robert White told us: ‘Don’t trust anybody. With hindsight we should have made sure we received an original purchase order, not a faxed one, and then phoned the BBC to confirm.’
The store revealed: ‘We are one of a number that a similar thing has happened to.’
AP understands that police have yet to fingerprint the equipment as part of their ongoing investigation.
At the time of writing the detective constable assigned to the case could not be reached for comment.