ARTISTS in Stroud are warning fellow creators to remain vigilant following a spate of attempted scams that could have cost thousands of pounds.

Melvyn Warren-Smith, Ollie Vivian and a number of other artists have been targeted by the same con man in recent weeks.

Melvyn discovered he was being scammed after attempting to cash a cheque at RBS in Cheltenham.

“I had received some interest in my work from a man I believed to be German, named Theo Schwartz,” said Melvyn, 69, who has been living in Stroud for 18 months.

“He said he had seen my work and it was of great interest to him, he also told me about how his wife was ill.

“He proceeded to tell me that a cheque was in the post but he had paid too much money and I would need to repay some of the costs for shipping and other things.

“When the cheque arrived I was amazed at how much he sent me, it was €3200 when the cost of the painting were only £300.

“It was at this point I started to feel something wasn’t right, the cheque looked a bit flimsy and I wasn’t sure if it was real.

“When I took it into RBS the person at the bank seemed to think it was fine until the manager walked by.

“I ended up in the back room, talking on the phone to the RBS fraud team.”

“Luckily I went to visit another artist Ollie Vivian and I discovered he was being scammed as well.

“He was about to head to the bank and cash a fake cheque when I realised it was from the same person.”

Melvyn attempted to involve Gloucestershire Police but he was told they do not deal with matters of fraud, advising him to contact a London office.

Another artist who wished to remain anonymous, was also contacted by someone supposedly from Germany who wanted to purchase their work.

This time the name given was Denis Neagle but the address of Rathausstraße 58, 20095 Hamburg was the same given to Melvyn and Ollie.

If anyone else has received similar emails it is recommended that they are reported as soon as possible.