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Sweet William florist gets £800 back after fraudsters targeted the Headcorn shop

An independent florist who has finally been given £800 back after her shop was targeted by fraudsters said she is 'relieved' and can now start planning for Christmas.

Owner Julia Archer was on her own in Sweet William in Headcorn when the pair struck on October 9.

Julia Archer has owned the Headcorn florist for more than 20 years. Picture: Andy Jones
Julia Archer has owned the Headcorn florist for more than 20 years. Picture: Andy Jones

It has taken six weeks to get her money back but Mrs Archer - who has owned the shop in Foreman's Walk for more than 22 years - knows that she is one of the lucky ones.

She said: "I am relieved but I've still lost goods and about £150 so I haven't got off completely scot-free.

"At least I got the majority of it back, it's better than nothing because I've spoken to somebody who hasn't been as fortunate.

"It's a lesson learned, if something were to happen next time, I shall be a lot more vigilant with it."

Mrs Archer believes the two men deliberately targeted her shop when she was in the premises alone, as within a minute of her colleague leaving for her lunch break, they walked in.

Sweet William was targeted by fraudsters Picture: Google
Sweet William was targeted by fraudsters Picture: Google

The pair bought £82.95 worth of bouquets to the till and Mrs Archer typed in the amount and handed over the card machine to one of the men, for him to punch the pin in.

Having examined her CCTV closely, she believes he quickly changed the amount to £800 and didn't put his card far enough into the machine for it to register.

This meant he was able to type in a different number for a credit card, which Mrs Archer believes could have been stolen, which was charged the huge amount.

Throughout, the other man was distracting Mrs Archer with questions.

When the receipt came out, she suspected foul play.

"He was calm about it and said 'just refund', I knew there was something not right about it."

She authorised the refund to a different debit card, and the culprits even helped her with her bags as they left.

"They hadn't a clue I had an inkling about it, they went and had a coffee next door," Mrs Archer said.

Mrs Archer reported what had happened to her bank straight away.

The business owner has lost out on numerous wedding and funeral orders due to coronavirus restrictions so is pleased to have been reimbursed.

Through the second lockdown Sweet William is still open for online click and collect orders.

The shop has been transformed into a winter wonderland and Mrs Archer is looking forward to welcoming back customers in the next few weeks.

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