Grandfather targeted by scammers who stole £430 in South Shields

A South Shields pensioner was the victim of a doorstep scam where two women claimed to be organising food parcels during lockdown and instead stole £430.

The family of Brian Hewitt say the 81-year-old grandfather has been left shaken after two females – who he said looked like a mother and daughter – stole £430 from his wallet following a doorstep scam.

On Saturday evening (November 21), two women knocked on Mr Hewitt’s door at his home in South Shields, and told him they were arranging for food parcels from two supermarket chains, his family say.

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The ‘cruel’ pair then conned him into handing over his bank card informing him they were also sorting utility bill refunds.

South Shields grandfather Brian Hewitt was targeted by scammers.
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The ‘generous’ grandfather had also given then a £4 donation he thought he was making to the Salvation Army before the pair slyly pocketed £430 from his wallet.

Family members were later able to cancel his card and it doesn’t appear that any additional money was stolen.

Granddaughter Stacey Gray said: “He’s barely left the house for two years and this has really set him back.

Brian Hewitt and granddaughter Stacey Gray.

"He believed what they told him and he never thought two women could do something like this. He said they both had dark hair and looked like mother and daughter – one aged between 17 and 25 and the other over 40.

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"We are devastated that two females could do this. It’s cruel.

"We feel like he’s been targeted because he is older and a bit more vulnerable. They didn’t knock on any of the bungalows nearby."

Stacey has set up a Go Fund Me page to give back to Mr Hewitt following a flood of support on social media. So far more than £130 has been raised in less than 24 hours.

“We had so many people wanting to help give back and asking us to set it up,” added the 34-year-old.

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"We’ve had people offering hampers and food parcels. We thought even if we could get £50 and put it in a card for him. It will help show him that there are good people out there.

"It’s lovely to see how much has been donated especially from complete strangers.

"He’s the most generous man and if they had knocked on his door and asked for £50 he would have given it to them.

"This is going to affect his trust in people.”

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Stacey is now appealing to the community to watch out for older or vulnerable friends and relatives and warn them about possible scams.

A police investigation into the incident is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to come forward.

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “An investigation has been launched after a report of a theft in South Shields on Saturday evening (Nov 11).

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“It was reported that about 8.30pm two females knocked on the door of an elderly occupant and proceeded to steal approximately £400 out of his wallet, before making off.

“Inquiries are ongoing to locate those responsible. Anyone who saw anything suspicious is asked to contact police via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of our website or by calling 101 quoting log 502 221120.”

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