A 23-year-old man who posed as a courier to steal over £24,000 from elderly victims, including in Lincolnshire, has been jailed for 19 months.
Vidunas Tutkus, of no fixed address, was jailed as part of a scam in which criminals posed as police officers and targeted mainly elderly victims, claiming to be investigating counterfeit money at the bank.
They persuaded the victims, who were aged in their 70s and 80s to withdraw large sums of money from their accounts.
Tutkus collected the cash from them and two victims were also asked to hand over bank cards.
He managed to steal £24,800 from four victims in this way between April and June last year.
The victims were living in Elmstead in Essex, Barrowby in Lincolnshire, Wollaston in Northamptonshire, and Winchester in Hampshire.
A woman in Ramsgate in Kent received a similar call from someone claiming to be a police officer, who asked her to withdraw £4,000 from her bank account on July 29.
She did but police were waiting to arrest him when he arrived after they were notified by her bank.
Tutkus was taken into custody and during a police interview he said he wanted to earn extra money to pay off debts and thought it was a legitimate courier job.
Tutkus admitted six charges of fraud by false representation at Ipswich Crown Court before being sentenced on Monday, January 25.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Lee Winfield, of Clacton CID, said: “The judge described this as sophisticated fraud in which Tutkus was sent to collect money from the victims.
“While he was not one of the lead organisers, he still had a key role in the fraud.
“Crimes such as this are really callous and distressing because fraudsters take advantage of people’s trust and are very persuasive.”
Detective Constable Jim Stevenson, of Lincolnshire Police, added: “Telephone and online fraud is becoming common place due to the current lockdown and we are grateful that our community can recognise these scams from the start.
“This was a sophisticated crime that abused the trust the community have with the police and that was why we were determined to do what we could to locate and bring those involved to justice.
“We hope this result can bring some form of closure to the victim and I am grateful to DC Winfield from Essex Police for his assistance who took the lead in this case.
“Being able to collaborate with another force is of great importance and I’m glad we were able to do so on this occasion.”