Image issued of man sought for courier fraud

Police are continuing to appeal for the public’s assistance to help trace a man they believe is responsible for two elaborate courier fraud scams which have targeted elderly victims.

Officers are issuing a new image of a man they would like to trace and speak to in connection with these incidents.

In both cases, the suspect contacted his victims pretending to be a police officer investigating a fraud at their bank and asked the victim to help assist the investigation to catch the perpetrators by withdrawing significant sums of money.

The first incident happened on Monday, 27 March, and resulted in the 73-year-old victim handing over her life savings.

At about 6.30pm, the victim from Dulwich received a call on her mobile phone from a man who said he was a police officer investigating a debit card fraud.

He instructed the victim to buy 5000 Euros and buy a watch costing more than £25,000 as part of an elaborate plot to catch the perpetrators of the fraud.

A courier then attended the victim’s address and collected the items.

Just over three weeks later on 19 April, an 85-year-old victim received a telephone call at her home in Clapham from a unknown male who said he was a police officer based in Hammersmith, also giving a name.

The caller told the woman that he was investigating a serious fraud at her bank, and had two suspects in custody.

He explained that two members of bank staff were under suspicion and he asked the victim to attend a court hearing at Woolwich Crown Court the following day and appear as a witness. The victim was confused and agreed to the request.

The suspect then asked that she go to her bank and withdraw £5,000 which she did. The suspect waited on the phone while she did this.

As she returned from the bank, the victim told her neighbour about the telephone call she had with the suspect.

The neighbour quizzed the courier when he arrived at around 17:15hrs that day to collect the money. Being suspicious of the circumstances, the neighbour advised the victim not to hand over the money and the courier left empty-handed.

Police have now released a picture of a man they want to speak to.

He is described as Asian, about 5ft 8inches tall and aged in his 20s.

DC Michael Esangbedo of Southwark CID said, “We are now investigating two offences – one, a courier fraud where the deception resulted in the victim handing over her life savings and the other, an attempted fraud which was only prevented due to the vigilance of a neighbour. Both were carried out in a similar fashion against elderly, vulnerable victims.

“We would urge anyone who recognises the man pictured to get in touch with police.

“I would like to remind the public that police will never call members of the public and ask them to withdraw money, or take part in a police ‘sting’ operation, and anyone with suspicions about such requests should call 101 right away.

“Our team is liaising with officers from Operation Falcon who investigate fraud and financial crime to ensure all resources are being directed into solving this case.”

Anyone who recognises the man in the photo or anyone with information should contact Southwark CID by phoning 101.

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