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Police return £23,000 to fraud victim - Aylesbury

Alert message sent 28/11/2016 11:28:00

Information sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police

Police return £23,000 to fraud victim - Aylesbury

A woman who was conned out of £23,000 by fraudsters has had the money returned to her this week by officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary.

In April 2015, officers from the Constabulary’s Operation Manhunt unit commenced an investigation into a series of fraud offences against elderly victims in Hemel Hempstead.

Police received reports that a group of men had approached the occupants at three addresses and stated that urgent roof repairs needed to be carried out. In each case, the work was completely unnecessary.

Thankfully, no money was handed over by any of the victims and two men were arrested in connection with the offences a short time later.

Subsequent enquiries identified a further incident in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, where a couple, aged 86 and 84, were defrauded out of £23,000 in a similar roofing scam. Sadly, the husband passed away before the trial.

Both men pleaded guilty to the offences at Harrow Crown Court in June this year (2016) and were sentenced to two years in prison.

Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) proceedings were launched on the same day and, on November 11 (2016), all £23,000 was ordered to be paid back to the victim.

The victim, whose identity is not being revealed in order to protect her, said: “I was completely astonished when I found out the money was being returned to me. I am enormously grateful to the police for the service and support they have given me throughout - from the investigation and court process, to the follow up investigation to get the money returned.”

She also encouraged people to contact police if they find themselves a victim of fraudsters.

“Even though you may feel foolish that you have been taken advantage of, I would urge people to ensure they report these incidents to police to try and prevent offenders targeting anyone else.”

Detective Constable Jason Tinsey, from Operation Manhunt, a specialist team which investigates distraction burglary and other crimes which target the elderly and vulnerable, said: “We will always do everything in our power to bring offenders to justice and return money to victims wherever possible. It’s great that we were able to return the money to the victim in this instance and I hope this will enable her to move on from the incident.

“I would urge people to remain vigilant around unexpected callers. Our advice is to never consider having work done by anyone who knocks on your door. If you do need work doing to your property, find a Trading Standards approved trader or by calling Citizens Advice Consumer Services on 03454 04 05 06.

“If you think you have been a victim of a similar scam please do report it to police as soon as possible.”
 
Message sent by
Diane Brown (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Aylesbury Vale LPA)

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