Ten plead guilty to county-wide bank scam which preyed on the elderly and vulnerable (From Redhill And Reigate Life)
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Ten plead guilty to county-wide bank scam which preyed on the elderly and vulnerable
11:50am Wednesday 4th July 2012 in Local News
Ten members of an organised crime gang which preyed on elderly and vulnerable people across Surrey in a bank scam, have pleaded guilty in court.
The nine men and a woman admitted being behind the large-scale scam which involved tricking their victims into disclosing their bank card personal identity numbers (PIN), and handing over their debit cards.
Their string of cons on residents totalled more than 100, included victims in Horley, Redhill and Reigate, and saw them trick people out of more than £120,000 by posing as bank employees and couriers.
The ten appeared at Guildford Crown Court last week, jointly charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.
They were all remanded in custody.
The ten - Mark Leacock, 43, of Church Road, Crystal Palace, Scott Hutson, 23, of Headley Drive, New Addington, Iain Hall, 48, of St James Road, Croydon, Paul Bennett, 44, of Ferndale Crescent, Carshalton, Aaron Leacock, 24, of Starling Close, Croydon, Justin Reis, 33, of Beaver Close, Anerley, John Mark Skelly, 34, of London Road, Enfield, Patrick Bennett, 27, of Cinnamon Close, Croydon, Tarno Reid, 36, of Alexandra Drive, Lambeth, and Sharon Cummings, 41, of Belvedere Road, Lambeth - are next due to appear at Guildford Crown Court for sentencing on September 6 and 7.
A further defendant - Mark Packham, 32, of Chetwode Road, Tadworth - did not enter a plea and remains on bail in connection with the investigation.
Charges were dropped against a twelfth defendant.
The police investigation followed a wave of offences across the county in which false pretences were used to obtain people’s bank cards and PIN numbers.
Surrey Police’s Cross Border Investigation Team received well in excess of 100 reports of offences and attempted offences in Surrey, London, Sussex and Kent between April 2011 and February 2012. In total, the gang managed to obtain £125,757 in cash and goods, and made further failed attempts to obtain £94,219.
The offences included one in Horley last September, in which two pensioners were conned out of hundreds of pounds by fraudsters posing as bank employees.
Tricked into revealing their PIN details over the phone and then into handing over their debit cards to someone dressed up to look like a courier, the men, aged 70 and 71, each lost £300 from their accounts when the cards were later used in Victoria Road, Horley, and at Tesco, Hookwood.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Rymarz, who led the investigation, said: “The guilty pleas today reflect the wealth of evidence that we have against these individuals, and I would like to pay tribute to the tenacious and meticulous work conducted by the team who worked on this investigation.”
Det Chief Insp Rymarz said: “I hope this demonstrates that we will relentlessly pursue those who deliberately target the most vulnerable and elderly members of our communities for their own gains and ensure they are brought to justice.”
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