A teacher was mugged at knifepoint for more than £600 by two hooded men who pretended to be selling a PlayStation 5 (PS5) on Facebook Marketplace.
Keen gamer Mark Lee, 22, believed he’d struck a bargain when he found someone selling the sold-out console on the platform, which allows users to browse items from online sellers.
Since its launch in November, the console has sold out in big brand stores across the UK, leading shoppers like Lee to turn to private sellers, with some priced at as much as £1000.
Lee found the console on Facebook Marketplace on 30 December, but the seller insisted he pay in cash and gave him an address at which to collect the console.
When Lee approached the address near Smethwick, West Birmingham, on New Year’s Eve, he was confronted by two hooded thugs in an alleyway who drew out knives and threatened to stab him if he didn’t hand over the cash.
He handed his wallet to the scammers before fleeing the scene.
Secondary schoolteacher Lee said: “I had been so excited to pick up that PlayStation 5, I expected to go home with it and be able to spend the night playing games with my friends.
“But instead, these two men approached me as I was walking along an alleyway and brought out these huge knives – and I immediately felt dread.
“I was terrified and in complete shock – I just gave them my whole wallet and sprinted in the opposite direction.
“I knew there were scammers out there, but I had no idea how serious and violent they could get – these men were threatening to kill me.
Read more: More PS5 stock coming before end of the year
“I was gutted after it happened because I also lost all the money I had saved up – but nothing is worth more than your life.”
Music teacher Lee jumped at the chance when he saw a PS5 on sale for £625 on Facebook Marketplace on 30 December - and didn't question it when the seller told him to come and pick it up the following day in Avery Avenue.
The seller, who was using a Facebook account called “Hamza Khan” to advertise the console, instructed Lee to meet him at 5pm with the £625 cash payment.
Lee, who works in Banbury, Oxfordshire, but had been staying at a friend’s house in Birmingham, said: “I was so excited to pick up the console.
“I secured my first job as a teacher in September, so I wanted to reward myself.”
Lee was horrified when, walking down a nearby alleyway as he approached the address, he found himself being followed by two young men.
After confirming his name, he said the men, who were wearing dark tracksuits, drew out “long matte black serrated blades” and threatened to kill him with them if he didn’t hand over the £625 cash.
He said: “My immediate feeling was one of total dread and fear.
“When they held these huge knives to my chest, I could hardly process what was going on, I clammed up and fumbled around.
“It must have taken me around a minute to get hold of my wallet because I was panicking so much, I genuinely thought they would kill me."
He called West Midlands Police to report the incident, and they are investigating.
Lee finally returned home safely later that evening, where his worried girlfriend Alicja Humeniuk, 24, was waiting for him.”
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: "We've launched an investigation after a man was robbed of a significant amount of cash having arranged online to meet someone to buy a games console.
"The man was instructed to go to Avery Avenue, Birmingham, and while walking down a cut-through he was approached by two Asian males who threatened him with a knife and stole the cash.
"A police dog and handler was sent to the scene to track for any scent and local searches conducted. Detectives are trawling CCTV in the hope of identifying the offenders.
"Anyone with information is asked to message us on Live Chat through our website or call us on 101 quoting crime ref 20BW/327592P/20."
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