Police have issued a warning to members of the public and bank staff across West Sussex after a series of incidents involving drainage work rogue traders.
The warning follows a case in which a man paid £3250 cash from his Brighton bank account to unknown men who claimed they needed the money to carry out urgent work on drainage at his home.
Police said hours later the man was about to pay another £4500 cash direct from the Crawley branch of his bank when an alert cashier sensed something was wrong, refused his request, and reported it.
On Sunday January 4 a similar incident was reported where a 68-year-old man was visited by two men who told him they had been carrying out drainage work at an adjacent property and work needed doing on his drains.
The following morning they called again and took him to his bank in Brighton where he withdrew the £3250 cash and handed it over.
Police said they then drove him to a branch of the same bank in Crawley where he tried to withdraw £4500 from them but the cashier became suspicious and refused to hand over the cash, reporting the incident to management.
A Sussex Police spokesperson said; “We remind all residents, especially the elderly or those living alone, and their relatives, not to be deceived or intimidated by cold call approaches like this. Never agree to anything on the spot, and always look into all available information about anyone who contacts you in this way. Seek advice from neighbours, relatives, and the police if necessary.
“This the first such call we have received recently, but we are also reminding all bank staff to be wary when elderly and vulnerable account holders come in to ask for large amounts of cash from their account. There is nothing to stop you querying the request if you are suspicious and we are glad that in Crawley just that happened.”
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Sussex Police on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 101 quoting serial 807 of 5/1. Anyone with any suspicions about this type of approach can contact email@example.com or by calling 101. You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Have you been affected by this problem contact firstname.lastname@example.org