Got anything to pawn? Yes, a false arm

Tents in the Isambard Brunel car park in Portsmouth

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Pawning in the 21st century is a little more slick and sophisticated than putting your prized possessions in hock at the sign of the three balls.

Fascinated by a recent programme about online pawning, I checked it out on the internet.

A pawnbroker in Vancouver, when asked for his most unusual pledge, replied ‘a prosthetic arm’.

In Pompey we have our own pawn stories. Agatha Flon Flon de Gusset told me that in the late 1940s, on Monday mornings, the queue of wives outside Hewitts Pawnbrokers in New Road went right round the block.

They were there to pawn the old man’s Sunday best suit for money for the week. When he was paid on a Friday, they’d go back and redeem it for the weekend.

These days items pawned are more like jewellery, Rolex watches and the odd Ferrari.