Croydon police hunt conman who blackmailed students out of thousands of pounds
Police are hunting a conman who posed as an undercover immigration officer to blackmail international students out of thousands of pounds.
Two students have been duped by the man, the first being blackmailed for £1,500 and the second being blackmailed for £9,000.
The man preyed on the victims saying he was an undercover Home Office worker and threatened to deport the students if they did not hand over the cash to the outside Lunar House in Croydon.
The first victim, a 22-year-old Pakistani man, was staying in the country on a student visa, working in a butchers shop in Newham.
The conman first approached the victim at the butchers shop in person, where he asked the victim for money to help get back to Sheffield.
The victim gave him £8 for a coach ticket home and to return the favour, the suspect said he could get the victim shifts at the Royal Mail.
They swapped numbers and the suspect would call the victim if any jobs were going.
After a series of phone calls, the conman revealed he was an undercover Home Office worker and persuaded the student he would be deported if he did not pay him the money.
The pair met outside Lunar House in November last year, when the money was handed over.
Police are hoping someone may be able to identify the man in the image shown, who police believe may be able to help them with their enquiries.
Acting Sergeant Lucy Brookshaw from Croydon CID, who is investigating the case, said both cases followed the same pattern.
She said the victim was devastated by what had happened.
DS Brookshaw said: "It has left him very distraught and he has lost his student fees. It left him feeling very vulnerable.
"He felt very lonely throughout the whole thing and it made him very ill. He actually broke down in front of his friends when he told them what had gone on.
"This type of crime is difficult to report for victims in the first place. These victims might not always be sure how the legal process works in this country."
She added: "This is a double appeal really firstly for witnesses who may have seen this man and then for potentially any other victims who have fallen prey to something like this."
Anyone with information should contact A/DS Lucy Brookshaw on 020 3276 2264 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 quoting reference number 121828.
Comments are closed on this article.