Police warning over ‘drivers in need’


Horsham police are warning motorists to remain vigilant following a spate of people being conned into giving money for petrol to ‘drivers in need’.

The first incident was reported to police on Wednesday (April 22).

Police said a woman from Horsham was flagged down by a man in a lay-by on the A281 in Cowfold at approximately 2.15pm.

He told her his car was low on fuel and he had no money but was trying to get to a meeting in Manchester.

Police said the man asked to borrow some money in exchange for a gold-coloured ring and bracelet.

The woman gave the man £65 and he left her with his business card. The man was driving a dark-coloured BMW and is described as white, large build, with a beard and moustache, with very short hair and a round face. He was wearing a grey jacket.

Police said a second similar incident was reported the same day in Horn Lane, Henfield, where again a man parked in a lay-by and flagged down a passing motorist.

He said he needed money to get back to Manchester and the driver followed the suspect to a near-by petrol station.

Police said the driver paid for £50 worth of fuel for the man as well as giving him £50 in cash. The suspect again gave a gold bracelet and ring as collateral.

At 2.30pm on Sunday (April 26) a Henfield resident was flagged down by a man who had stopped his vehicle on the Wheatsheaf Road.

The man claimed he could not speak much English and his bank card was not working.

He said his car was nearly out of fuel and he also needed to buy food.

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

Police said the suspect 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.

They added the victim followed the vehicle to a local petrol station but it did not stop.

PC John Burt, from Horsham Neighbourhood Policing Team, 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.”

If you have any information about these men or you have been offered jewellery in exchange for money for petrol please 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.