Wealden Police – Weekly Community Message

News, alerts and appeals

Bank intervention blocks fraudsters

An elderly lady from Crowborough narrowly escaped being defrauded out of £9,000 due to the diligence of her bank on Thursday 15 June.

Prior to visiting the bank to transfer funds from one account to another, she had received a phone call from, as it turned out, scammers. They had convinced her she needed to make this transaction, to leave her computer on at home while she did so, and then to return home to call them once completed and to write this on her computer screen. Luckily the bank cashier realised something was wrong and contacted police straight away. The matter has since been referred to Action Fraud to pursue.

Please be reminded to keep an eye on elderly relatives, friends or neighbours who may be at risk of being taken in by these scammers. Some of them can be very convincing and police receive many reports of people losing thousands as a result.

To report a similar incident, or with further information in relation to this one, please contact us quoting reference 840 of 15/06

Theft at the cash point in Heathfield

On Wednesday 14 June police received a report just after 2.30pm that an elderly lady had been the victim of theft while withdrawing money from the cash point outside Nat West in Heathfield.

She was approached by a man and woman in their 20’s or 30s who are described as being of Eastern European appearance. One of them tapped her on the shoulder which made her turn round and when she turned back, the money had been taken. The couple had disappeared and it is not clear if they walked away or got into a car.

During local follow-up enquiries officers were told of a similar incident outside Barclays Bank in Heathfield at about 2.20pm, whereby a man had had £80 stolen from him just after taking it out of the cash point there

Enquiries further identified that the couple had been seen driving a large grey car, but the make is not known.

Please be vigilant at cash points or when handling any cash when you’re out and try not to allow distractions that might make it easier for thieves.

Anyone with information to report about this incident is asked to contact us quoting reference 773 of 14/06

Op Blitz report from last weekend

Friday 9 June – no calls were received on the Op Blitz phone. On patrols, at Goldsmiths in Crowborough just before 8pm, a group of about 40 youths ran away as officers arrived, carrying with them litre bottles of cider. A strong smell of cannabis was in the area, which was then searched but nothing found.

An hour later on the playing fields at the Beacon Community College, officers arrived to the scene of an unconscious 14 year old girl with an ambulance already tending to her. She was subsequently taken to Pembury Hospital where she remained for two days. According to two boys who stayed behind with her and who spoke to officers, there had been a group of about 30 who had been drinking alcohol since 5pm. By this point all the others had left the area. Further work is to be carried out around the sale of alcohol to minors.

Late in the evening officers responded to a report of a fight going on in a supermarket car park in Heathfield. On arrival there was no sign of anybody but one car had had the tyres slashed and a window broken.

Saturday 10 June – all areas were patrolled as usual, no calls were received and all was found to be in order at each location.

£500 reward offered for Mark Stonestreet’s whereabouts
Can you help police to locate this man? Please click here to read the details.

Campaign launched on the danger of selfies

Police have launched a social media campaign to discourage teenagers from sending nude selfies. Click here to read the article.

Vehicle online Shopping Fraud

Fraudsters have been advertising vehicles and machinery for sale on various selling platforms online. The victims, after communicating via email with the fraudster, will receive a bogus email which purports to be from an established escrow provider (a third party who will keep the payment until the buying and selling parties are both happy with the deal). These emails are designed to persuade victims to pay upfront, via bank transfer, before visiting the seller to collect the goods. The emails also claim that the buyer (victim) has a cooling off period to reclaim the payment if they change their mind. This gives victims the false sense of security that their money is being looked after by this trustworthy third party, when in fact it is not and the money has gone straight to the fraudster. Protect yourself:

  • When making a large purchase such as a new car or machinery, always meet the seller face to face first and ask to see the goods before transferring any money.
  • If you receive a suspicious email asking for payment, check for spelling, grammar, or any other errors, and check who sent the email. If in doubt, check feedback online by searching the associated phone numbers or email addresses of the seller.
  • Contact the third party the fraudsters are purporting to be using to make the transaction. They should be able to confirm whether the email you have received is legitimate or not.
  • False adverts often offer vehicles or machinery for sale well below market value to entice potential victims; always be cautious. If it looks too good to be true then it probably is.

If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk, or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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