The Daily Mail has published an article claiming professional gangs of traders are buying up vast quantaties of the UK’s iPhone 4 stock and shipping it abroad.
The tabloid claims this is "depriving ordinary customers of getting their hands on them."
Apparently, these hoards of ‘runners’ are paid around £70 for each un-contracted device they get their hands on, which they pay between £499 and £599 for.
It’s tough to see how anyone is making much money on such a scheme by the time the devices are shipped to Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia – but The Mail claims international shortages will mean customers will pay £400 over the retail price.
Directly asserting that this supposed practice has caused the iPhone 4 shortage, the Mail goes on to explain the chaos as ‘genuine’ customers become frustrated they cannot buy one.
"Fights have been known to break out and some stores open much earlier than their advertised time of 9am in an attempt to reduce any crowd trouble."
Unsurprisingly, Apple declined to comment when approached.