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'Fraud' targeting elderly linked to UK extremists

Police are investigating a fraud targeting elderly people that is linked to extremists travelling to Syria Credit: PA

Counter-terrorism police investigating a "large scale" alleged fraud linked to extremists travelling to Syria have arrested seven people.

Six men and one woman have been arrested after raids on seven addresses in London and Luton as part of a probe into allegations that vulnerable and elderly victims are 'cold-called' by someone impersonating a police officer and scammed out of money.

The men, all in their 20s and 30s, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering and a 32-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of money laundering.

A 46-year-old woman was also arrested during a property search in north London on suspicion of a separate offence under the Child Abduction Act in relation to a young girl travelling to Turkey whose whereabouts remain unknown.

She has been bailed until June alongside two women, aged 20 and 21, who were previously arrested in relation to this inquiry.

Officers are investigating a large-scale fraud linked to UK extremists travelling to Syria.

The arrests today form part of an ongoing fraud investigation, whereby unsuspecting vulnerable and elderly victims are 'cold called' on their home phone by a suspect impersonating a police officer.

Members of the public are strongly advised, if you receive a call like this about your bank account from someone claiming to be a police officer, hang up the phone, wait at least five minutes to make sure the phone line has cleared, or use another phone line, before ringing the phone number on your bank card.

– A Scotland Yard spokesman


Pensioner: 'I never know which tariff I am on'

A pensioner said he worries about the cost of heating his home because he "never knows which tariff" he will be on, Good Morning Britain has heard.

Owen Ellis, who lives in East London and suffers from respiratory problems, can only afford to heat his home for an hour every day and said his bills were "going up all the time".

Govt: We made 'clear commitment' to keep OAPs warm

The government has made "a very clear commitment" to keep over-65s warm every winter and 12.5 million would be eligible for between £100-£300 to help pay their fuel bills if there born before July 5 1952.

A Government spokesman said:

Around 12.5m older people are due to receive £2.15bn in help from Winter Fuel Payments this year - part of our very clear commitment to keep British pensioners warm this winter.

What's more a total of £700 million has been paid out to vulnerable people in Cold Weather Payments since 2010 in 28 million separate payments - and this year the Warm Home Discount is providing £310m of extra help to those at risk of fuel poverty.

But we know the way to help people - permanently - is to make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat. We are improving the UK's housing to help over 1.3m homes, on top of an investment of over half a billion pounds in energy efficiency.

– A Government Spokesman

Charity: 70% of over-65s 'worried about cost of energy'

Almost three-quarters of over-65s living in the UK are worried about the rising cost of energy, according to an age concern charity.

Research from Age UK showed:

  • One third of over-65s are worried about how they will heat their home in the first place.
  • Some 41% of older people believe the government should do more to ensure UK homes are made more energy efficient.
  • Another 36% want energy companies to intervene and insulate old homes.
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