A suspected fraudster has been arrested in dawn raids as part of a criminal investigation into a scam targeting elderly pensioners.
Officers have arrested the 30-year-old man in connection with a large-scale scam which sees elderly people being coerced into handing over their valuables.
Earlier this year it had been reported that elderly people in the Bedlington and Seghill areas of Northumberland had been targeted by fraudsters.
They told police that men claiming to be from HMRC had attended their address and pressured them into sending cash and valuables to them via a post.
A complex fraud investigation was launched by officers from the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU.)
And on Thursday morning officers, supported by colleagues at the Metropolitan Police, executed warrants at two properties in Middlesex.
During the dawn raids, a 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of Conspiracy to commit Fraud and Money Laundering.
Detective Sergeant Shaun Fordy from NERSOU’s Bombay Team has called on the public to remain vigilant and challenge anyone they suspect of trying to scam them.
He said: “We have seen the awful effects scams like this can have on victims. People lose their confidence and their trust in others; they are coerced into handing over their hard-earned cash and belongings and sometimes left with nothing.
“We would urge anyone to ignore any approaches made by cold-callers or through unsolicited letters. If someone knocks on your door, challenge them, ask for ID but never hand anything over.
“We would also ask families with elderly relatives to make sure they haven’t been contacted. Remember, no reputable company will ever ask you to send them cash or valuables in the post and we would encourage anyone who thinks they might have been targeted in this way to contact police immediately.
“As part of Operational Sentinel, our initiative to tackle serious and organised crime, we will be focusing on the criminal groups who target and exploit vulnerable people in this way and looking to disrupt their operations and bring them before the courts.”
Anyone who wants to report suspicious behaviour can do so by contact police on 101, reporting it online at the Northumbria Police website or contacting Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.