Police are using municipal by-laws to crack down on con artists in the Bellville CBD.
Bellville police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Henrietta van Niekerk said their “Operation Clean-up” on Thursday January 26 involved getting rid of “doppie players”, who scam people into playing a rigged “game of chance” they can’t win.
“They have the victims win a few rounds, small amounts of money, and then play them for all they have left,” she said.
Plain-clothes officers went undercover to track down the con artists and establish how they operate.
Police then arrested seven of them for contravening a by-law against “obstructing”. They were held for 24 hours, then released on a R100 fine.
Warrant Officer Van Niekerk explained that police were using the by-law to prevent the scammers preying on unsuspecting members of the public because it was hard to make any criminal charges against them stick.
Meanwhile, the City’s traffic service says it is noticing a spike in licence fraud. Within just ten days officers have arrested three people driving vehicles with altered licence discs.
“From these cases, it is clear that the drivers are either tampering with the licence discs themselves or paying someone to do it for them,” said JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security and social services.
“While licence-disc fraud is not a new phenomenon, we are concerned that it is on the increase.”
The City’s Metro police arrested 35 people on various charges including drunken driving, possession of stolen goods and possession of drugs.
One of the arrests was made on Saturday January 28 when officers arrested a 31-year-old suspect at a house in Parksig Villas, in Bellville. The officers visited the complex to validate the address of another suspect arrested the previous day and walked in on a drug deal. They confiscated 30 mandrax tablets and R4 500 in cash.