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Craig Sibbald of Creative Promotions issues a warning to the industry

One of the things I love about this industry is the people. It’s an industry full of genuine folk working hard to bring the best range, price and service possible to one another to build their businesses while serving the needs of those around them. It’s not often the industry is tarnished by an unscrupulous individual. However, one person has proven a consistent thorn in the side for three years now and it’s high time he was driven out the industry for good. 

Regular trade press readers will likely know who I’m talking about but for the avoidance of doubt, I’m going to say his name loud and clear…. So take note and inform your colleagues he must be avoided: ALAN WESTON. Affectionately known as @AlanGingeWeston on Twitter, Alan Weston on Facebook and Alan J Weston under various online directory enquiry and directorship listings. It seems he’s giving redheads a bad name too, tut tut… Mr Weston!

For three years this man has been cutting a friendly but fraudulent wake through our industry offering “special deals” to distributors via his network of crooked companies. He claims to be a one-stop sourcing shop with a particular penchant for pushing USBs and trolley coins. In fact Alan Weston has been doing such a great job of offering his wonderful deals that some 30-plus companies have placed business with him, only to firmly regret it shortly after.

Alan Weston prides himself on the ability to source anything from anywhere, which is pretty easy when the products are all a figment of his imagination. Let me make this abundantly clear to readers. If you are contacted by Alan Weston, perhaps under the guise of 8th Wonder Merchandise Ltd, Promoprods Ltd, DNA’s Pinky Pawz Ltd or Watch N Play Ltd – DO NOT DEAL WITH HIM! Alan Weston will tempt you in with great prices and lashings of friendliness only to steal your money in a cloak of lies.

“But wait a minute, Craig, I thought it’s innocent until proven guilty?” He’s already been proven guilty in the courts on more than one occasion yet somehow continues to plague our industry. The rinse-and-repeat cycle of this convicted fraudster MUST be brought to an end through a collective effort to drive him out of the industry, preferably to prison where he belongs!

Rewind 18 months and you’ll understand the axe I have to grind with this common thief. My own company was targeted by him, he stole £5,000 from our business and, from the conversations I’ve had with other distributors, we are nowhere near the top of his hit list. More than one distributor has paid this low-life individual over £10,000 – yes, TEN GRAND! When he took our office on a five-grand tour of his fantasy supply chain and cost me two residual spending clients, I decided enough
was enough.

Unfortunately, I only researched his network of companies once orders had been placed but nothing delivered, lesson learned. By the time I uncovered his trail of fraud he was off with our money, but only after spinning a web of lies so horrifying it leaves me in no doubt he is on the sociopath physically sick. It transpires his excuses, or variations of them, have been doled out regularly to those he’s conned in the last three years. There’s low, then there’s Alan Weston low.

Infuriated by his continual cycle of fraud, I began reaching out to others taken in by him in an effort to build a case strong enough to bring him to justice, again! I contacted the bpma, Leicestershire Police, Leicestershire Trading Standards and Customs & Excise. He charged VAT on invoices but I doubted the VAT man was receiving those funds. It’s taken a long time to get to this stage, however it would seem from the last update given, the authorities are on his case again. I hope it’s more than just a slap on the wrist this time. Conviction will not recover the money stolen from dozens of companies but it will hopefully see him face a tougher round of justice this time.

To that end, I’d like to request anyone with further information on this man to please contact Leicester Trading Standards directly on 0116 4543200 or email trading.standards@leicestershire.gov.uk. The team at LTS has been hard at work pulling together details from upset distributors so the more information you can give them the better.

With this being an ongoing case it’s important we hear from everyone who has dealt with this man, even if you have only received his emails showing intent to supply. Once reported to trading standards please contact me on 0141 332 7471 and let me know your complaint has been logged. It doesn’t matter how long ago events occurred – it’s imperative we hear from you to help seal the industry off from this fraudulent character for good.

Before dealing with anyone new, please be sure to check out the bpma bulletin board where you can post questions or request advice from a wide audience of experienced industry professionals. Alternatively, why not ring the bpma up? They exist for your support and it only takes one small piece of advice or recommendation to potentially save you your annual membership fee many times over. You could, of course, avoid a lot of hassle by simply buying from recognised bpma members – this way you know you are in safe hands and dealing only with experienced professionals. Whatever your sourcing strategy, make sure you do it safely!

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