A jewellery conman known as the Menace of Mayfair is back in business – despite having been sent to prison three times.
Champagne-sipping charmer Andrew Batchelor boasts he can offer the best price for Rolexes and Cartier bracelets.
But since his most recent release, at least three people have told police they were thousands of pounds out of pocket after handing him their valuables.
Two have been successfully awarded County Court Judgements against Batchelor, 63 – who uses the name Andrew Asquith to hide from his past.
And his business card bizarrely carries the signature of 19th century US President James A. Garfield, apparently identical to the one shown on Wikipedia.
Batchelor was also once nicknamed the Glasgow Goldfinger over scams he carried out in Scotland – but he claims now to have gone straight.
One person who thinks differently is Samantha Smith, who says she handed him two Chanel bags worth £4,300 after meeting him in a private members’ club in Kensington in 2019.
He allegedly told her he had a jewellery shop but it was “closed for repairs”.
Executive Samantha, 34, said: “It didn’t seem suspicious because we were in a private members’ club and people seemed to know him. Two days later he wasn’t responding to messages.
“So I did some digging and discovered who he really was. There was tonnes of info about him being in prison for fraud.
“I managed to get £3,000 back – but only because I spammed his social media to make people aware who he is.”
Samantha said Batchelor then started paying in dribs and drabs.
She said: “He’d ring to say money had gone in my account and it would be £10, then £20. The police can’t do anything as he says he’s paying in instalments.”
But Samantha’s campaign to recover her money took a dark turn. She said: “He’d leave me messages in the middle of the night.
“He said disrupting his business would be like opening Pandora’s box. He threatened me to the point where he wouldn’t stop messaging.”
One message apparently sent by him shows bundles of cash, with the warning: “I’d rather burn the money. I’ll never give it to you. Unless you undo what you have done.”
Samantha said: “He’s so brazen. If it was a film you wouldn’t believe anyone could be so audacious.”
Another who came up against Batchelor was 62-year-old Brian Abram.
He says he hit trouble after turning over his Jaeger-LeCoultre timepiece to Batchelor, then trading under the name Mayfair Watches and Jewels.
Brian said Batchelor paid him just half of what he had promised for the watch.
He finally gave him the rest after being confronted over his identity. Brian said Batchelor told him: “[What] happened in the past [is] in the past. It was many years ago and I have rebuilt my life.”
Brian only got his cash after threatening to expose the trickster – but still reported him to police and ActionFraud. He said: “Once I spoke to him to tell him I knew his real identity, he panicked.”
Batchelor was jailed for five years in 2009 after pleading guilty to 29 charges, including 22 for fraud offences.
Within months of his release, he broke the conditions of an order banning him from the jewellery trade.
In 2012, he was jailed for two-and-a-half years for failing to comply with a Serious Crime Prevention Order.
Yet his stings continued. In 2019 another woman, who asked not to be named, handed him a £5,000 diamond-encrusted Rolex – and later saw it being sold by a watch dealer in Cardiff.
She claims she is still owed £2,250 by Batchelor, whose social media shows him drinking champagne in Mayfair and dining at plush London restaurant 45 Jermyn St.
His 39-year-old victim, from London, said police took no further action once he offered to pay in instalments.
She said: “After the police invited him he paid £500 more. But he’s never paid since. I’ll never see the money.” Both she and Brian have since secured CCJs against him.
Batchelor told the Sunday Mirror: “I don’t owe them a f*****g penny. I’ve done nothing wrong. People bring up my past for the slightest reason.”
A police spokesman said: “The Met is investigating allegations of fraud relating to the buying and selling of goods online.
“A 63-year-old man was interviewed under caution in August 2020. A file has been submitted to the CPS.”