- A diamond encrusted watch, three bracelets and a necklace of total worth Â£29,100 given as gifts to woo stripper
Thieves posed as friends of Chelsea star Didier Drogba to steal Â£70,000 of jewellery, a court heard.
Part of the haul was given to a stripper after dealers were tricked into handing over valuables before the cheques had cleared.
The director of Paris jeweller Mathon was so convinced by the conmen he got on to the Eurostar to hand over 13 items of jewellery worth Â£38,500, Southwark Crown Court heard.
A diamond encrusted watch, three bracelets and a necklace of total worth Â£29,100 were then given as gifts to woo the north London dancer.
Lovestruck, David Donkor, 33, of Hampstead, north London gave Zoe Carbon the items after meeting her as a client at gentleman’s club Secrets in Swiss Cottage.
Samantha Cohen, prosecuting, said: ‘They were then given by this defendant to a woman he met in a bar or dancing club.
‘In August of last year a person telephoned a German jewellery company called Bunz, saying they were a representative of Didier Drogba, who was apparently quite a well-known footballer.
‘Mr Drogba wanted urgently to buy four items of jewellery from them.
‘A fax was sent to this company, purporting to come from Barclays Bank, saying about 18,000 Euros (Â£15,400) were going to be transferred into the company’s bank account.
‘Four items were, on the strength of that fax, dispatched to an address in south east London, care of someone called Strilling Moss.
‘It turned out the money was transferred and the fax was a fake and the items had disappeared’.
An almost identical ruse was used on September 16, when a conman rang Melleriu Dits Meller pretending to have 27,000 Euros (Â£23,000) to spend.
As a result of another fake fax, the company couriered two watches to a London address, only to find they too had been ripped off.
The following month, on October 22, the scam targeted Mathon in Paris.
‘The first Drogba scam had obviously worked so well that the thieves decided to give it another go,’ said the prosecutor.
The representative said Drogba wanted to urgently buy 13 items of jewellery for 45,000 Euros (Â£38,500).
‘A fax was sent purporting to be from Barclays.
‘So urgent did Mr Drogba apparently want these items, that the director of Mathon in Paris got on the Eurostar and met ‘Dennis’ at St Pancras to hand over the items.
‘Of course Mr Drogba, I want to make it perfectly clear, knew nothing about this.
‘The person who met him accepted the items and handed over a cheque which he said was goodwill, to show that the transfer would take place.
‘The director, satisfied, got back on the Eurostar.
‘Surprise surprise, the money was never transferred, the fax was a fake, the cheque didn’t clear, and the items disappeared’.
Ms Cohen said the items did not vanish forever, because Mrs Carbon’s husband Craig telephoned Melleriu Dits Meller offering to sell them one of their own 14,850 Euro (Â£12,700) timepieces.
He said: ‘I’ve got one of your watches, would you like to buy it?’ the jury was told.
Police tracked down Mr and Mrs Carbon to their Hertfordshire home, and they handed over the four items.
‘She explained she worked as a dancer at Secrets and one of her customers who she knew as David had given her the watch,’ said the prosecutor.
‘He had also given her four other items of jewellery’.
Donkor was arrested and told officers: ‘I buy things in good faith,’ jurors heard.
Ms Cohen added: ‘He accepted he had given them to Zoe, because he liked her a lot’.
He produced what he claimed were receipts for the items, added the barrister.
Donkor denies three counts of handling stolen goods and one of transferring criminal property.
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