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Sex offenders pose as agents to exploit young girls online

There's a warning that sex offenders are posing as modelling agents to convince young girls online that they could have a career in front of the camera.

Police say they've received various reports this year of girls being contacted and asked for explicit pictures or videos. Officers are now working with the National Crime Agency to track down those behind the scam, as Michael Billington has been finding out.


Three men arrested after locksmith con - but police urge residents vigilence

Officers investigating the recent spate of locksmith cons arrested three men this week on suspicion of fraud. The men aged 28 and 15 years old from Hersham and a 37-year-old from Surbiton are due back on bail on 5 December 2015 while officers continue their inquiries.

Police are continuing to urge residents not to fall for the locksmith con, which has already claimed numerous victims across the county.

Around 28 people have already been duped into handing over money to a conman claiming to need to borrow money to pay for a locksmith, and there have been further reports of unsuccessful attempts. As well as conducting a coordinated investigation into the offences across the whole county, Surrey officers are also working with the Metropolitan Police, where similar incidents have taken place, to identify the suspects and ensure they are brought to justice.

Detective Sergeant Steve Richardson, who is overseeing the investigation into these offences, said:

"A number of residents across Surrey, many of them elderly and vulnerable, have been targeted by this scam. Offences have taken place over the last month in Weybridge, Esher, Hersham and Epsom, and further enquiries have revealed that the scam is also being used in the London area, and we are working with our Met colleagues to look at patterns of offending and try to identify those responsible.

While our investigation continues, we would urge residents to remain vigilant and never to hand over any money to people who just show up on their doorstep or even approach them in the street or a car park, no matter how plausible or heart-wrenching the story is.

We are also urging residents to keep an eye out for anyone spotted acting suspiciously in their area and to report any sighting to us as soon as possible.

The suspect appears to be targeting elderly residents, which makes these crimes all the more despicable, and we are determined to do all we can to trace the offenders responsible and ensure they are brought to justice."

– Surrey Police

If you believe you have been a victim of a similar or any scam, or you have any information which could assist police with their enquiries, please contact Surrey Police on 101 or by using the online reporting system found at

Alternatively the independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Full-time student illegally claimed benefits

A full-time student who illegally claimed benefits from Reading Borough Council has been given a six-month suspended jail sentence, and ordered to pay back the entire sum plus costs.

The fraud carried out by Lidie Nishimwe was uncovered as a result of national data matching.

Central government linked a student loan application made by Ms Nishimwe to Reading Borough Council’s housing data and referred the matter to the council.

The council’s anti-fraud team investigated and discovered Ms Nishimwe, 30, had been receiving a student loan and maintenance grant as well as housing benefit and council tax benefit for a property in Reading.

The defendant had originally applied for housing and council benefits while living in William Street, in August 2010, stating that she was single and working as a part-time care assistant in Tilehurst.

She was advised she was entitled to benefits but that she must notify the council of any change in circumstances immediately.

New warning over rogue traders

Dorset Police and Trading Standards Officers are warning householders in Dorset, particularly pensioners, to be extra vigilant after receiving a large number of calls relating to suspected rogue traders.

The offenders offer services including power washing driveways, cutting down trees and tending gardens, as well as selling chainsaws and generators. They also carry out general building work, including tarmacking, in exchange for cash.

Police believe that criminals carrying out this type of fraud are doing so while travelling through the county, but there are also people in the area who try to con the elderly.

Cowboy builder charged £17,000 and turned home into "bomb site"

A cowboy builder charged a woman £17,000 to turn her house into a "bombsite" rather than completing any repairs, a court heard.

Fraudster Timothy Gokool accepted the money to install a new kitchen and bathroom and do some painting and decorating.

However a court heard how the 35-year-old hardly ever turned up to complete the work and made a complete mess of the home rather than carrying out any home improvements.

The traumatised customer was billed thousands of pounds for poor workmanship and renovations that were never done.

Appearing before a judge in Reading, Berks., Gokool admitted one count of fraud by false representation relating to the con in the summer of 2013.

The builder and director of Elite Home Services (EHS) Ltd had been employed to do up a home in Slough, Berks.

Sentencing him to 21 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, Judge John Reddihough said Gokool had only narrowly escaped an immediate spell in custody after turning the victim's home into "little better than a bomb site."


Woman used fake bank card to buy Euros

Police want to speak to this woman in connection with fraud Credit: Sussex Police

Do you recognise this woman?

She tried to buy £2500 in Euros from a post office in Station Road, Portslade, using a fake bank card and a fake driving licence at about 2.20pm on 22 May.

Staff at the branch recognised that neither the bank card for the driving licence appeared genuine and refused to hand over any currency.

The woman then left the post office empty handed and went towards the seafront.

She was white, in her early twenties, 5' 4" and of average build. She had long brown hair and tanned skin and was wearing a pink top and dark trousers.

"If you recognise the woman or have any idea where she could be, please get in touch with us. We would also be interested in any other businesses that have been visited by the woman where staff have had similar experiences that they have not reported to police."

– PC Adam Parris

Couple due in court over fraud at nursery

The couple were charged following an investigation into Pixies Day Nursery by HM Revenue and Customs Credit: ITV Meridian

A trial is due to begin later of a couple - who ran a children's day nursery - accused of fraud.

Michael and Marina Scott from Locks Heath are charged with Income Tax and National Insurance extortion of one point seven million pounds.

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