Phone scammer jailed - Radlett

23/04/2015

A member of a gang of phone scammers was locked up for three years today, Thursday, 23 April 2015, after a court heard how he preyed on an elderly married couple in their eighties and defrauded them out of tens of thousands of pounds.

On four occasions Redwan Hussain called at the couple's home in Radlett, Herts to collect bundles of money from them with a tale that the notes were to be checked for fingerprints by the police.

Today, St Albans Crown Court was told that in the space of a week the 88-year-old wife and her 85-year-old husband were tricked into handing the gang over £70,000 of their savings.

Hussain, aged 20, from East London, was eventually caught after police were tipped off by the couple's bank and officers were waiting when he turned up once more hoping to collect a further £25,000.

Today, Hussain, of Pigott Street, Limehouse, East London, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to commit fraud by making a false representation.

Ann Evans, prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), told how on 27 November last year a man pretending to be a police officer from Essex rang the couple at their home in Radlett. He claimed that an employee of Barclays Bank had been using their account to purchase items and they needed to cancel their bank cards. The next day the same man pretending to be a 'PC Johnson' rang the wife and said that someone had been arrested. He then claimed that the police needed to check bank notes for fingerprints and fake currency and asked that £5000 be withdrawn from their bank and someone would call round to collect the money, which would be returned to them.

The court heard the bank were concerned about the money being withdrawn and called the police. As a result, an officer from Herts police went to the couple's home to speak to them.

Judge Marie Catterson, hearing the case, was then told that because of what the bogus officer had told the couple over the phone about a need for the "utmost secrecy," they wouldn't talk to the real officer about what was happening. Instead they claimed they had withdrawn the money to give to their son for Christmas.

Miss Evans said it meant the gang were able, in the days that followed, to make more requests for money from the couple and, in the course of a week, they lost more than £70,000 to the gang. Finally, on 05 December last year, said Miss Evans, the gang asked their elderly victims to withdrew £25,000, which they duly did. Once more the bank tipped off the police who this time went to the couple's home and gave them a dummy package to hand over to the caller. Police then waited and saw a taxi arrive outside the couple's home and the defendant got out of the back. Moments later, after calling at the front door of the couple's home, he was handed the package and promptly arrested.

Judge Catterson was told his role had been that of a courier who had been paid £150 for each trip he was asked to make to the home of the couple. He was now said to be full of remorse for what he'd done.

Passing sentence, the Judge told Hussain: "This conspiracy involved significant planning and was sustained over a period of time and deliberately targeted victims on the basis of their vulnerability." She ordered Hussain be detained in a Young Offenders' Institute for the next three years.

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