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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.

'Suspicious' man stops motorist and offers gold for cash

Female driver flagged down by man Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/PA Images

A woman has told police that a man flagged her down while she was driving and offered her gold in return for cash, claiming his credit card was not working.

The incident happened around 1pm on Monday, November 16, on the slip road connecting Tot Hill Services, near Highclere, with the southbound A34.

Hampshire Police say they have investigated previous scams where highly polished copper was made to look like gold and offered in return for cash so are appealing for help.

The man is of Middle Eastern origin, aged in his 30s and spoke German and English. He was 5ft 4ins, of a chubby build and wore a red chequered shirt and a brown jacket. His car was described as dark blue and there were three other men inside.

Anyone with information or who have been a victim of a similar scam should contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101 quoting 44150398276.


Cold callers operating in Sussex

People in two areas of East Sussex are being urged to be on their guard for cold calling ‘cowboys’.

East Sussex Trading Standards issued the warning after receiving several complaints of rogue doorstep sellers operating in the Bexhill and Lewes areas.

Officers are particularly keen to intercept a cold calling company offering block paving to residents.

Scams: 'Everyone is now a potential victim'

They target the most vulnerable and trusting people in our communities, using the goodwill of the elderly to con them out of their hard-earned savings. Tonight the police are warning about the dramatic increase in scams.

There has been almost a thousand cases of so-called 'Courier Fraud' in Sussex alone in the past five months. That's where people are tricked into handing over credit or debit cards, cash and PIN numbers to someone posing as a police officer or bank official.

The police say the sheer variety of these scams are now so elaborate - everyone is a potential victim.

Andy Dickenson reports and we hear from 87-year-old scam victim Dennis, PC Bernadette Lawrie, and fraud victim Helen Brown.


Conman steals £28,000 from pensioner

Surrey Police detectives have released an e-fit of a man they would like to speak to in connection with a brazen scam which left a Gomshall man almost £28,000 out of pocket.

The victim, who is in his 70s, was contacted by a man claiming to be from the Metropolitan Police. The suspect said he was involved in distributing counterfeit money and needed the victim's help with an operation. The victim was asked to withdraw £5,000 which he handed over after meeting the suspects at a specified location in London. The victim was then asked to purchase two Rolex watches to the value of £17,900 and £4,000 worth of chips from a casino, which he also handed over. He was also asked to make a number of cash withdrawals.

E-fit of conman released Credit: Surrey Police

The victim contacted police the following day after realising he had been duped.

Officers are also investigating after an elderly couple from Farnham almost fell victim to a bank card con on the same day.

The couple were contacted by a man claiming to be a detective inspector from Aldershot who said he had rung to let them know there had been some fraudulent activity on their bank account. The caller told them to withdraw £8,600 and that he had ordered a taxi to take them to the bank. The couple were then instructed to take the cash back home with them to keep it safe.

Police were alerted to the scam after staff at the Farnham branch of Nat West became suspicious when the couple tried to withdraw the money, foiling the fraudster's attempt.

The suspect was never seen but is believed to have maintained telephone contact with the couple throughout the incident. Despite a swift response from police, the suspect was not located and the investigation into the incident remains ongoing.

We are following up a number of lines of enquiry in relation to these offences and both investigations remain ongoing. At this stage, we cannot say whether the two incidents are linked, only that they both took place on the same day. We are urging people to be vigilant, to be aware of these scams and to protect themselves by following the precautions below.

– Detective Constable Mike Taylor

Woman jailed for conning people about sick children

A woman has been jailed after conning people out of more than £2,000 by making up false stories about sick and dead children. Kati Ringer, 19, received donations from kind-hearted donors who believed stories she posted on social networking websites.These included claims that she needed special equipment for her premature baby and that she needed money for her dead daughter's funeral. However, Ringer, formerly of Shoeburyness, did not have any children.

Con woman jailed Credit: Essex Police

She took photos from another person's Facebook page and the internet and pretended they were her children. She also took photographs from other people's Facebook pages, defaced them and posted them on Blackberry Messenger. She was sentenced at Basildon Crown Court to nine months in jail for 14 charges of fraud and two years imprisonment for one charge of threats to commit arson, to run consecutively. She also received three months imprisonment, to run concurrently, for eight charges of harassment and malicious telecommunications offences. Ringer admitted the offences at an earlier hearing in November.

Katie Ringer acted in a cold and calculated way by abusing the kind generosity of many people who thought they were helping someone who had suffered the loss of a child or had a seriously ill child. She obtained significant financial gain from the kind hearted. She also obtained pictures from the internet of loved ones, mainly babies and small children, from people she knew. She then defaced them, adding vile comments and disgusting drawings, and re-posted them for all to see, causing devastation among the community. At no stage has she shown any remorse or responsibility for her actions.

– PC Sharon Blaxland

Drivers caught up in motorway scam

Motorists in the Thames Valley are being warned about smartly-dressed conmen who tell them sob stories and trick them out of money.

Police say it's happened almost 30 times in just five days - on the M40 in Buckinghamshire; the M4 - including Chieveley along to Windsor, in Berkshire, and on the M25 into London. Mel Bloor sends the details..

'Day of action' against fraudsters

Victims of 'scam mail' are often the elderly or most vulnerable in our society - losing hundreds of pounds - even hundreds of thousands.

Trading Standards officers launched a 'day of action' to fight back against the swindlers. Andy Dickenson met one man who used his savings to 'try his luck' - and who says he can't believe he fell for the scam.

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