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Sompting couple defrauded of thousands

Police want to speak to this man in connection with a money scam Credit: Sussex Police

A couple from Sompting were defrauded out of several thousand pounds when they were the victims of an elaborate scam on Tuesday last week.

A man who claimed to be calling from the Metropolitan Police rang the couple's home phone number and said that there had been fraudulent transactions on their bank account.

He then asked if they would be prepared to assist with an undercover operation to expose forged bank notes being trafficked by dishonest back staff.

A bogus courier was sent to their house and the couple handed over the money. He is described as white, in his early 20s, 5' 6"-5' 7", of small build with a pale complexion, mid-brown wavy hair and having 'childlike' features. He was dressed rather scruffily in casual clothing that included a dark round-necked T-shirt and a knitted grey cardigan with a large collar. Police have issued an e-fit of the man.

"This was an elaborate and convoluted con trick that must have required at least three people to pull it off. As in previous attempts across the county, some of which have been successful, the trick has been to convince the victims that they were phoning the police or their bank. They do this be remaining on the phone after they have called the victim, who then thinks they are making a new call to the police or bank that is 'answered' either by the original caller or an accomplice. It is a mean crime, invariably targeted at more vulnerable and trusting members of the public. We would like to hear from anyone who may have been the target of a similar scam or indeed, has become a victim. Please call us on 101 quoting serial 1643 of 16/09."

– Detective Constable Paul Tonks

Police or bank staff will never ask you for PIN numbers or send a courier to your house to collect bank cards or cash. If you have any doubts about a caller who asks you to ring back, either use another phone to call or leave it for half-an-hour or so before doing so.

You'll find correct contact details for your bank on correspondence or statements and the police can always be called on 101, no matter where you are in the country.

If you think you are being targeted, use a different phone and dial 999 immediately.

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