British scammers make off with over 32 tonnes of Swiss cheese

British scammers make off with over 32 tonnes of Swiss cheese

In what is likely the largest heist of its kind, the international company and cheese supplier Cremo has revealed that British scammers successfully made off with over 32 tonnes of Swiss cheese between the end of 2019 and the start of 2020. The Emmental-enticers managed to steal 450.000 francs worth of cheese.

Swiss company subject of a cheese-based scam

While Switzerland is no stranger to cyber attacks and scams, it’s not often that the criminals manage to get their victims to part with their cheddar - or in this case, a mixture of Emmental and Gruyère. In a report published in 20 Minuten, the large Swiss cheese distributor Cremo admitted that it was the victim of a cheese-based con based out of the United Kingdom.

According to the company, the story starts after they received an email from the scammers, who were posing as representatives of the high-end department store Harrods and the frozen food supermarket Iceland. Brie-lieving the call was an ideal opportunity to sell Swiss cheese in a hole-new, massive UK market, Cremo jumped at the chance and started to send the representatives their cheese.

Cremo loses 450.000 Swiss francs to British scammers 

Over three transactions between the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, Cremo sent 32,7 tons of Gruyère and Emmental cheese to an address outside of London, with the value of the fromage totalling an astounding 450.000 francs. In true Swiss fashion, the illusion only started to melt when they sent the 450.000 franc invoice for the cheese through the post and received no reply.

According to the Fribourg Prosecutors Office, the company had been effectively swindled out of its cheese. Officials explained that to the company, the email addresses looked genuine, company details were accurate to a point and the delivery was to a plausible location.

Cheese to be sold on black market as police unable to act

Despite filing a complaint with the Swiss police, the prosecutor told 20 Minuten that they couldn’t do anything as they are unable to contact the thieves as they acted “from and on the territory of Great Britain”, and the delivery company used to supply the now-bootleg fromage had gone out of business.

Sadly, the location of the illegally acquired cheese remains a mystery. However, 20 Minuten predicted that the thieves will not keep their embezzled Emmental for long, instead selling it piece by piece on what the newspaper described as a “black market.”

Thumb image credit: / ventdusud

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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