Hapless customers were tricked into licking the feet of staff at a Poundworld store who then rode them like horses in an elaborate prank by an anonymous caller. Naomi Desmond, 24, and her mum Pamela, 55, who has one arm, were doing some last-minute holiday shopping when they fell victim to a bizarre con lasting two-and-a-half hours.

A man claiming to be from a charity in Ireland phoned the store and told staff to close it for a ‘team training exercise’ that involved entering two customers into a competition. Pamela and Naomi were the only shoppers inside at the time when the prankster phoned to tell staff to take two customers into the store room. The two women were duped into believing they could win £3,000 if they endured a series of humiliating tasks at the discount shop in Barnstaple, Devon.

Following the caller’s instructions, the staff tied string around Naomi and Pamela’s ears, threw water over them, drew on their faces with pens, rode them down the aisles in a human horse race. At one point, Naomi and her disabled mother were told to lick the feet of the staff. Throughout the ordeal the staff had to refer to the two women as ‘Ugly’ and ‘Beast’ and in return they had to call the manager ‘Beautiful lady’ with the promise of £50 each time they said it. The cruel hoax continued for nearly two hours until the caller finally said the ‘training exercise’ had ended.

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