TIM DREW: Beware of fraudsters impersonating police

Tim Drew
Tim Drew

West Downs Neighbourhood Watch Search Task Force has teamed up again with Worthing Rotary, this time at the Three Forts Challenge on Sunday, April 30, when the force helped to man road closures and keep the runners safe.

Parking facilities had been arranged but, with 772 competitors turning up, spaces filled up fast and we were soon having to close the entrance to Fifth Avenue and ask newcomers to park on the adjoining roads.

Whilst taking the opportunity to thank all those who reacted cheerfully and with understanding (and that was, to the best of my recollection, everyone), I would urge that, given the popularity of this event may well increase, vehicle sharing be considered as far as possible so as to avoid any likelihood of contestants having to park too far afield.

Meanwhile, a number of incidents have been reported to Action Fraud in which a lone fraudster targets those whom he or she believes to be unfamiliar with the local area.

The fraudster invents an excuse to talk to the prospective victims, such as enquiring about directions or offering a recommendation for a good hotel.

After this interaction, several other fraudsters will intervene purporting to be police officers in plain clothes and will sometimes present false evidence as proof of their identity.

The fake officers will then give a reason to examine (and covertly steal from) the victims’ wallet, purse or personal items.

They may also examine the first fraudster’s possessions, or try to tell victims that the first fraudster is suspicious, in order to gain victim trust and appear more realistic in their guise.

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The next Neighbourhood Watch and Crime Awareness Event will be in Montague Place between 10am and 4pm tomorrow (May 13), where free cycle marking services will be provided.

• The Selden Neighbourhood Panel will meet at 6.30pm on Tuesday (May 16) at the East Worthing Community Centre in Pages Lane.

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