Shoppers have been warned to look out for a ‘three-cup’ gambling scam in Ilford Town Centre.

Redbridge Council issued the warning following numerous reports of the scam illegally being operated by street gamblers.

One unsuspecting punter was recently scammed out of £200, believing they had a chance of winning money.

In response the borough’s police have set up a special taskforce to deal with the issue.

In the three-cup scam, the scam artist will hide a ball under one of three cups, and then move the cups around swiftly, before asking members of the public to bet on where the ball has ended up.

Often the ball will have been removed using sleight of hand and distractions.

The scammers also place ‘moles’ within the crowd, who they will allow to win on their bets, encouraging the public to participate.

Leader of the council, Cllr Jas Athwal, said: “Due to an influx in the number of three cup scammers illegally operating within Ilford Town Centre, Redbridge Council is urging people to not get sucked into this scam.

“Our message to residents and visitors to Ilford is quite simple: do not engage or get involved with the people behind this scam. You will only lose your hard-earned money.

“We are working in partnership with the police to bring these scammers to justice, as they are in breach of Gambling Act 2005, and are prying on unsuspecting shoppers.

“Sadly, these scam events also provide opportunities for pickpockets to operate amongst the crowds.”

If you see instances of this scam, contact Redbridge Police’s special taskforce by calling 07938 902329 daily after 2pm or via completing an online form to Redbridge Council.