A gang which set up a fake eBay car auction robbed the would-be buyer at gunpoint when he met to close the deal, The Daily Mirror reports.
Shahzad Ali Shah, 23, agreed to meet the "seller" in Dagenham after successfully negotiating to buy the Mercedes Benz Kompressor C180. Shah felt "assured" by the vendor's 92.3 per cent approval rating and agreed to pay for the vehicle in cash after he demanded hard currency.
Student Shah, of Crawley, West Sussex, explained: "The man said if I paid in cash he would not offer it to anyone else. He said if I had the cash, the car was available and we could do the deal straight away. I put in an offer for £5,500 and he accepted."
Later the same day, 20 August, brother-in-law Shaharayar Talpur drove Shah and his mother Shahnaz to the meeting point. Shah's mother, a catering assistant, had saved for 15 months to buy her son the car as a university graduation present.
Shah recounted: "While waiting, two youths came towards us as if checking who was in the car. We moved to the main road as something didn't feel right, but when we parked there, the two guys and two others got out of a Vauxhall Corsa behind and approached us.
"An Asian guy told my brother-in-law to open the window and when he refused he pulled a gun from his fleece. He ordered him to open the door and took the keys so we couldn't drive off. He kept saying, 'You're here for the Merc - where's the money?'
"I said we didn't know anything and didn't have any money, but he just walked over and pointed the gun at me. Mum was terrified."
The gang made off with £5,580 plus Shahnaz's purse, phone, and credit cards. She told The Mirror: "I saw them point the gun at him [her son], the man started counting and I was so scared something would happen to him. I'm relieved my son was unhurt but I'm still having flashbacks now. I'm still scared."
During the robbery, one of the perpetrators "accidentally hit a button" on the stolen phone and dialled Shahnaz's daughter Zohar, 14, who was able to listen to the whole ordeal. She in turn called her sister Jabeen in panic, who later recalled: "When Zohar answered all she could hear was Mum screaming and the man shouting at her to give him her money. She was so worried she called me to say, 'Mum's in trouble'. She's still upset now."
Police are investigating the robbery. Shah told The Mirror that they "have told him data protection laws governing eBay and the fact the gang's car reg plates were fake have hampered their hunt".
eBay assured: "We've an excellent relationship with police and always provide information and assistance when requested." ®