Between approximately 1996 and 1998, two men in Southport, Lancashire, England ran a scam to trick people into surrendering socks. They became known individually as the Southport Sockman.
Steven Bain and Steven Gawthrop would approach tourists in Southport and buy the socks off their feet, claiming to be collecting them for charity. They would also take photos of the socks' owners and carefully keep track of their names and pictures. It later emerged that the men were foot fetishists and were hoarding the socks for their own sexual gratification.
When the men's flat was raided, the police found socks in piles everywhere around the residence, such that one officer commented it was like an explosion in a sock factory. Bain and Gawthrop were jailed and eventually sectioned under the mental health act.
The men enjoyed a brief period of notoriety in the late 1990s, and were even featured on television in Channel 4's The 11 o'clock show in a feature named "Free the Southport Two".