Police in Sussex are praising a bank cashier who became suspicious when a resident asked to withdraw a large amount of money in cash. They are asking other people who work in banks and building societies to be wary of rogue traders prying on elderly and vulnerable people.
The latest warning follows a case in which a Peacehaven resident paid £3,250 cash from his Brighton bank account to unknown men who claimed to need carry out urgent work on drainage at his home. Just hours later he was about to pay them another £4,500 cash direct from the Crawley branch of his bank when an alert cashier sensed that something was wrong, refused his request, and reported it.
On Sunday 4th January the 68-year old resident was visited by two men who told him that they had been carrying out drainage work at an adjacent property and that work needed doing on his drains too.
On the following morning, Monday 5th January, they called again and took him to his bank in Brighton where he withdrew the £3,250 cash and handed it over to them. Not content with that they drove him to a branch of the same bank in Crawley where he tried to withdraw £4,500 from them. Fortunately the cashier became suspicious, refused to hand over the cash and reported it to management. Police were immediately informed and enquiries begun.
A Sussex Police spokesman said:
We remind all residents, especially the elderly or those living alone, and their relatives, not to be taken in or intimidated by cold call approaches like this. Never agree to anything on the spot, and always look into all available information about anyone who contacts you in this way. Seek advice from neighbours, relatives, and the police if necessary.
This the first such call we have received recently, but we are also reminding all bank staff to be wary when elderly and vulnerable account holders come in to ask for large amounts of cash from their account. There is nothing to stop you querying the request if you are suspicious and we are glad that in Crawley just that happened.
Anyone with suspicions about this type of approach can contact the police at any time via firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 101.