Rail passengers have been warned to be alert to a scam in which people try to sell packets of tissues at an inflated price.
The scheme involves a group of people getting on Dart or commuter trains in the Dublin area and placing packets of tissues on every seat. Anyone touching one of the packets is asked to buy it, with some passengers complaining about intimidating behaviour by the sellers.
Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny said there has been five arrests in connection with the scam and one person has been convicted in the Children’s Court.
“We have heard reports of this since the end of last year from our own security personnel and customers but it seemed to increase at the start of the year. We have had less reports of it in the past few weeks but it is still going on,” he said.
Mark Gleeson of Rail Users Ireland said he was subjected to the scam earlier this week.
“On Monday I spotted a girl getting on at the Booterstown stop. She laid out the packets of tissue on an unoccupied seat with a little note printed in English and was going up to people and then asking for a fiver for them or whatever money they had,” said Mr Gleeson.
“Normally there is a team of two – the feedback from people has been that if you even touch the packet of tissues, you get hassled. Older people and children are usually targeted because they are more vulnerable. The scammers will demand payment – the packet of tissues will cost 50 cent but they will ask for 10 times that.”