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Elderly Clitheroe couple conned in telephone scam by man acting as police officer

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Detectives are appealing for information after an elderly couple from Clitheroe were defrauded out of thousands of pounds by a man posing to be a police officer.

On Wednesday 28 October, the man and woman, in their eighties and nineties, were called by a fraudster, acting as a police officer from Scotland Yard, purporting he was investigating the conduct of staff from a bank.

The caller told the woman that there had been a fraud attempt on her account and requested she withdraw almost £40,000. When trying to take out such a large amount of cash, her bank became suspicious and notified the police. No money was handed over.

The following day, the woman received further calls from a man, again pretending to be a police officer. He convinced the woman that she should withdraw £8,000 and meet with someone acting as a courier on Friday 30 October on Wesleyan Row, Clitheroe.

Officers are asking anyone may have seen this man to come forward.

DC Heather Kerr from Burnley CID said: “This is an utterly deplorable offence made all the more callous and tragic by the fact that the fraudster(s) have groomed the woman into thinking she was assisting a serious police investigation by handing over money. Such damage was done to her trust that even when I spoke to her I had to be accompanied by another colleague in uniform.”

“I would like to speak to anybody who was in or around the area of Trinity Methodist Church off Parson Lane on Wesleyan Row at around 4:30pm on Friday 30th October 2020. If you were there and have any dash cam footage or CCTV, please also get in touch.”

The offender is described as being in his mid-twenties, with dark hair, complexion and clothing.

DC Kerr also offered advice to residents to avoid becoming a victim: “I would like to remind people to be vigilant and if you get this type of phone call, report it to the police and/ or your bank before transferring any money into another account or agreeing to hand any of your cash over.

“People who commit these offences will often target the elderly posing as officials to gain their confidence and trust. No police officer or other official body will ever ask for your bank details or would ever ask you to withdraw or transfer funds.

“If you have an elderly friend or relative, please let them know that this has happened so they can avoid becoming a potential victim.

“Similarly, I am asking people to check on elderly or vulnerable people in the community. Has their behaviour changed? Are they anxious around the telephone, taking calls at a set time and being secretive about the calls? Do they appear stressed and anxious but reluctant to talk or lacking trust in banks? Finally, have they started to withdraw cash or is there a large amount of cash in their address? If so, please get in contact with us immediately.”

Anyone with information about the Clitheroe incident is asked to call or text DC Kerr on 07967 823720 or if they fail to get an answer, 101, quoting investigation number 04/171131/20. You can also email [email protected].

Alternatively, you can contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.


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