Police and South Shields bank staff step in to stop pensioner being conned with £8,000 bill from suspected fraudsters

Two men in South Shields have been arrested after police officers and bank staff stepped in to protect a pensioner who was given a £8,000 bill by suspected fraudsters.

On Thursday, October 13, staff at Lloyds bank, in South Shields, reached out to officers at Northumbria Police after becoming increasingly concerned for a customer who sought to withdraw an additional £3,000, having already withdrawn £5,000 that week.

When questioned by bank staff, the man in his 70s revealed that roofers who had agreed to work on his home had told him they urgently needed more money to rush to complete the work because it was due to start raining.

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The transaction was blocked and officers attended the pensioner’s address to inspect the roof,. They found just one roof tile missing and another loose.

Police and local bank staff stepped in to protect the pensioner.

Two men, aged 22 and 21, were subsequently arrested on suspicion of fraud. They have since been bailed, Northumbria Police confirmed.

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Chief Inspector Nicola Walker, of Northumbria Police’s Southern Response Team, has praised the quick-thinking staff whose swift actions helped prevent a suspected large-scale fraud.

She said: “Sadly incidents of this nature are becoming increasingly common as people try to make money by preying on the elderly and the vulnerable.

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“What’s despicable about crimes like this is that they manipulate people’s fears and coerce them into giving their savings.

“In this case bank staff were vigilant and able to help an elderly man - their quick intervention saved him from losing a lot of money. Staff trusted their instincts, picked up on the signs that something wasn’t quite right and relayed these concerns to us so we were able to respond in real time and make some arrests.

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“We regularly work with banks in our area to provide training to staff in order to help them spots signs of fraud and how best to act.

“Fast action from our officers also resulted in the victim being safeguarded and given bespoke advice to protect him from this happening again. We will continue to work closely with the banks and building societies to protect people from falling victim to such awful scams.”