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Princess Diana mourners CHEATED by street vendor in Paris

Street vendors in Paris are cashing in on the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death by cheating tourists trying to leave permanent mementos on her ‘shrine’.

Video obtained by MailOnline shows hustlers selling ‘eternal love locks’ that are then attached to a Diana monument close to the scene of her death.

But after the tourists walk away, the vendor simply removes the themed padlocks – which cost £9 – so he can resell them to unsuspecting tourists.

When challenged about his business practices, the vendor who said he was called Bestick admitted: ‘I am selling dreams. People are very happy. They have their pictures. That’s what counts.’

Cashing in: Street vendors in Paris are cashing in on the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death by selling ‘love lock’ trinkets that are then attached to a monument that has become a de facto shrine to the princess 

Removal: After buying the 'love locks' the tourists attach them to the memorial on the understanding they become a permanent fixture. But he then removes them to resell

Removal: After buying the ‘love locks’ the tourists attach them to the memorial on the understanding they become a permanent fixture. But he then removes them to resell

'Selling dreams': When challenged about his practices, the street vendor said people are 'very happy' and said he just selling dreams of Princess Diana 

‘Selling dreams’: When challenged about his practices, the street vendor said people are ‘very happy’ and said he just selling dreams of Princess Diana 

Cleaning up: The street vendor appears to spend time cleaning locks before reselling them to other tourists 

Cleaning up: The street vendor appears to spend time cleaning locks before reselling them to other tourists 

Unofficial shrine: The Flame of Liberty, a gift from the United States to Paris after restoration work on the Statue of Liberty, was adopted as a Diana memorial after her death 

Unofficial shrine: The Flame of Liberty, a gift from the United States to Paris after restoration work on the Statue of Liberty, was adopted as a Diana memorial after her death 

Although an unofficial shrine, the Flame of Liberty was adopted as a Diana shrine after her death and is permanently full of mementos, including the so-called ‘Forever Lock Locks’.

The idea is that people write a moving message on the gold padlock, attach it to the metal chain surrounding the flame, throw the key into the Seine, and then forge an ‘eternal’ bond with Diana.

Except that those parting with their money at the Alma Underpass – the notorious accident black spot close to the Eiffel Tower where the Princess’s Mercedes crashed into a wall in 1997 – are not actually getting what they paid for.

The video obtained by Mail Online suggests that those running the ‘Forever’ tribute are in fact simply recycling the same locks over and over again, while racking up sizeable profits.

The footage shows Bestick selling the locks for €10 (€9.25) each, despite the fact that they are easily available in nearby DIY stores for less than €2 (£1.85).

The massive mark up is justified by the chance to write a message such as ‘Never Forgotten’ or ‘Forever Ours’ on each lock with a black marker pen, to take a picture of it, and to know ‘it will be there for forever’, said Bestick.

Once each lock is attached, he asks customers to return the keys to him ‘for environmental reasons’.

Mourning Diana: The vendors are taking advantage of the twentieth anniversary of Princess of Wales's death by selling on 'love locks' around her makeshift memorial close to the spot where she died 

Mourning Diana: The vendors are taking advantage of the twentieth anniversary of Princess of Wales’s death by selling on ‘love locks’ around her makeshift memorial close to the spot where she died 

Costly: The footage shows street vendor Bestick selling the locks for €10 (€9.25) each, despite the fact that they are easily available in nearby DIY stores for less than €2 (£1.85)

Costly: The footage shows street vendor Bestick selling the locks for €10 (€9.25) each, despite the fact that they are easily available in nearby DIY stores for less than €2 (£1.85)

Mark-up: The massive mark up is justified by the chance to write a message such as ‘Never Forgotten’ or ‘Forever Ours’ on each lock with a black marker pen, to take a picture of it, and to know ‘it will be there for forever’, said Bestick

Mark-up: The massive mark up is justified by the chance to write a message such as ‘Never Forgotten’ or ‘Forever Ours’ on each lock with a black marker pen, to take a picture of it, and to know ‘it will be there for forever’, said Bestick

'Clearing up': Once the locks are in place, and customers have left, Bestick simply uses the keys to open them again, and resells them

‘Clearing up’: Once the locks are in place, and customers have left, Bestick simply uses the keys to open them again, and resells them

Once the locks are in place, and customers have left, Bestick simply uses the keys to open them again, and resells them.

As assistant sitting on a nearby wall could be seen cleaning up used locks with spirits, as could Bestick. 

Bestick said he was ‘a big Diana fan’ and wanted people ‘to have a chance to show how much they love her’.

He denied doing anything wrong, and said he was simply fulfilling a public requirement for the locks, while also regulating the amount of metal placed on the chain. 

Today dozens of British visitors to Paris were among those parting with their money so as to leave a ‘forever’ tribute to Diana next to pictures of her and sons, Princes William and Harry.

It was just below the monument that Diana’s Mercedes crashed, leaving the Princess with injuries from which she would never recover.

A few days later, thousands of mourners started placing flowers, candles and photographs around the Flame of Liberty – the gold torch put up in 1987 to celebrate friendship between France and America. 

Trendy craze: The love-lock craze started in Paris around five years ago, with people attaching them to historical monuments, and then throwing the keys into the Seine

Trendy craze: The love-lock craze started in Paris around five years ago, with people attaching them to historical monuments, and then throwing the keys into the Seine

Nothing official: Paris city council has never erected a permanent monument to the Princess, and there will be no events in the city today – the August 31st anniversary of Diana’s death

Nothing official: Paris city council has never erected a permanent monument to the Princess, and there will be no events in the city today – the August 31st anniversary of Diana’s death

Makeshift shrine: People still make the pilgrimage to the replica of the flame on New York’s Statue of Liberty, next to the underpass where Princess Diana was killed, despite it being an unofficial monument

Makeshift shrine: People still make the pilgrimage to the replica of the flame on New York’s Statue of Liberty, next to the underpass where Princess Diana was killed, despite it being an unofficial monument

Blind eye: Attaching padlocks to monuments is illegal in the French capital, but the authorities have so far turned a blind eye to it because so many people want to express their appreciation of Diana on the anniversary of her death

Blind eye: Attaching padlocks to monuments is illegal in the French capital, but the authorities have so far turned a blind eye to it because so many people want to express their appreciation of Diana on the anniversary of her death

‘LOVE LOCK’ CRAZE THAT SWEPT PARIS

The love-lock craze started in Paris around five years ago, with people attaching them to historical monuments, and then throwing the keys into the Seine.

They soon turn into vast clumps of rusting metal – leading to the authorities describing the practice as vandalism.

 It has been common practice for those attaching locks to monuments to then throw the key into the River Seine.

Attaching padlocks to monuments is illegal in the French capital, but the authorities have so far turned a blind eye to it because so many people want to express their appreciation of Diana on the anniversary of her death. 

People still make the pilgrimage to the Parisian replica of the flame on New York’s Statue of Liberty, despite it being an unofficial monument. 

Paris city council has never erected a permanent monument to the Princess, and there will be no events in the city on Thursday – the August 31st anniversary of Diana’s death.

Instead, it will be left to the media to commemorate a woman the French still refer to as ‘Lady D.’

The France 2 TV channel will broadcast an entire day of programmes about her, including documentaries.

Royal expert Stephane Bern, who works for the channel, said: ‘Twenty years on, it’s time to look again at what she brought to the monarchy in spirit, and who she really was.’

Mr Bern said her ‘tragic destiny’ placed her among stars such as Hollywood stars Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe, whose tragic early deaths helped to immortalise them.

A Paris council spokesman said there were ‘no immediate plans’ to remove the locks on the Diana monument in time for the 20th anniversary of the Princess’s death. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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