Police hunt fraudsters after hundreds of pounds stolen from pensioners across Sussex

Police want to speak to these men SUS-141126-090917001
Police want to speak to these men SUS-141126-090917001

These two men are wanted by police over a series of frauds in which hundreds of pounds have been stolen from pensioners.

Officers would like to speak to them about a series of offences over the last week across West and East Sussex – including Eastbourne.

In each case the offenders have claimed to be either police officers or bank workers investigating frauds and have told the victims that someone has used their card fraudulently.

On November 17 a man called a 74-year-old woman at her home in Rottingdean claiming to be from her bank’s fraud department and tricked her into telling him her account details.

The man told the woman to phone the number on the back of her card but had not hung up the call so although the victim thought she was calling her bank, she was in fact speaking to him again.

A courier arrived at her home minutes later saying he had been sent to collect her old card. The woman gave the man her card and it was then used in a number of shops across Brighton to make purchases worth hundreds of pounds.

The courier was described as black, 5’ 7” or 5’ 8”, of average build and about 30.

The card was used in shops by a man described as being of Middle Eastern appearance who was 25 to 30 and of large build. He was wearing a baseball cap and hooded top.

CCTV of two men who police would like to speak to has been released.

Police have received a number of calls yesterday (Tuesday, November 25) from members of the public reporting that they have been contacted in the same way.

Officers are currently trying to determine how many have given their card details and lost money to the offenders. Calls have been made to residents in Eastbourne, Worthing, Steyning, Hassocks, Plumpton, Portslade, Hove, Rottingdean, Saltdean, Woodingdean and Brighton.

In one of those cases, shortly after midday today, a man phoned a 94-year-old woman in Kemptown and persuaded her to give him her bank account details and then to give her card to a courier. Her card was later used to withdraw £500.

Detective Sergeant Cheryl Lewendon said, “Unfortunately some of the residents have provided the man with their bank details and hundreds of pounds was stolen. Unless we catch those responsible it is likely that they will target more elderly or vulnerable people.

“There could be other victims who because of their vulnerability do not realise that they have had money stolen from them and have not reported it to us yet.

“I would urge anyone who knows anyone who could be vulnerable to this kind of scam to contact them to check that they have not handed over their details in such a way.

“If you have been contacted by the men, even if you were not tricked into giving them your bank details, please contact us.”

Anyone with information should email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk quoting serial 1327 of 17/11, call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.