World of trouble

Five Pound World in Walthamstow High Street

Former boss at Five Pound World tells of chaos at Walthamstow bargain shop, reports James Cracknell

A bargain shop in Walthamstow run by a convicted fraudster has been trying to sell too many toilet brush holders, its former chief executive has warned.

Five Pound World was opened in Walthamstow High Street last summer by businessman Dev Singh, who hoped to take advantage of a gap in the market left by the closure of Poundworld the previous June. Several other branches of Five Pound World have since opened around the country.

But Dev sacked his senior management team at the Walthamstow shop after they discovered in October that he was a convicted fraudster previously jailed for not paying half-a-million pounds in tax on one of his previous businesses.

David Cox, Five Pound World’s former chief executive officer, told the Echo that before the discovery he had voiced his concerns to Dev about the way the shop was being run. He said: “There are certain things in retail that are obvious, such as getting in a good range of stock, and I told him we needed 4,000 lines of products, but instead he only got in 300. There was a whole aisle that was just toilet brush holders.

“He [Dev] didn’t seem to know what he was talking about. Then I found out he had just come out of prison for fraud and had pretended to be a friend of Michael Jackson. When we confronted him about this he just threw us all out – and he hasn’t paid any of us since. He’s been ignoring us.

“For someone to be running a high street retailer and to be using a fake name and not be paying people – I’m suing him over it.”

Dev was convicted in May 2016, under the name Gurkirpal Singh Bance, on three counts of cheating the public revenue.

David said: “There’s 20 people he got rid of [at Five Pound World]. One of them has three kids and has now been diagnosed with a terminal illness. I’m worried what will happen now with the people taking jobs with him. When I was there they were taking about £300 a day in sales.

“It [Five Pound World] is not a bad idea for a business but he hasn’t got the right stock – they’re selling the same sort of stuff they sold at Poundworld. He has got five or six loss-making shops and his answer to that is opening five or six more loss-making shops.”

When the Echo visited Five Pound World there were two customers in the shop. Items for sale included a twin-pack of mint sauce for £5.

Dev Singh and Five Pound World did not respond to requests for comment.