Police warn drivers after petrol scam in Cowfold and Henfield


Police have launched a warning to motorists after drivers in Cowfold and Henfield were tricked into giving conmen money for petrol.

On three occasions, drivers gave cash to a man who claimed he had run out of fuel in exchange for gold jewellery that police believe could be fake.

The first incident occurred on the A281 at Cowfold on Wednesday April 22 at around 2.15pm.

A Horsham woman was flagged down by a man in a lay-by who told her his car was low on fuel and he had no money, but needed to go to a meeting in Manchester.

He asked to borrow some money in exchange for a gold-coloured ring and bracelet. She gave him £65 and he left her with his business card.

Police said the man was driving a dark-coloured BMW and was white with a large build, a beard and moustache, very short hair and a round face. He was wearing a grey jacket.

On the same day, a man parked in a lay-by in Horn Lane, Henfield stopped a passing motorist and said he needed money to get back to Manchester.

The local driver followed the suspect to a nearby petrol station where he paid for £50 of fuel and also gave him £50 in cash. The suspect again gave a gold bracelet and ring in return.

On Sunday April 26 at 2.30pm a Henfield resident was flagged down by a man on the Wheatsheaf Road.

The man said he could not speak much English and that his bank card was not working. He said his car was nearly out of fuel and he also needed to buy food.

The driver said she only had a small amount of cash she could lend him but he reached into the car and took her purse, removing £120. The man offered her a necklace and ring in exchange for the cash.

He is described as being smartly dressed in a grey suit, possibly of Eastern European origin, in his late 30s to early 40s, medium build, with very short black hair and was a passenger in a green hatchback car.

PC John Burt of Horsham police said: “We are urging people to be aware of this scam taking place on our local roads and to warn friends and family.

“These fraudsters are taking advantage of people’s goodwill in exchange for items of gold jewellery that are likely to be fake and are providing victims with bogus business cards.”

Anyone with information can contact police by emailing 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or by phoning 101, quoting serial 764 of 27/04.

You can also call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.