Croydon fraudsters jailed for taking £200,000 from the elderly

Fraud gang jailed for targeting the vulnerable

Aaron Leacock

Iain Hall

Mark Leacock

Patrick Bennett

Scott Hutson

First published in News Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Assistant Editor

An organised gang of conmen who tricked thousands out of the vulnerable have been jailed for a combined total of more than 40 years.

The gang, consisting of nine men and one woman, were awarded sentences on a joint charge of conspiracy to commit fraud by misrepresentation, following an investigation into more than 180 offences across London and the South East.

Operating between April 2011 and February this year the ten managed to gain about £200,000 in cash and valuables.

Appearing at Guildford Crown Court on Friday, after admitting to the offences at a previous hearing, the group were each handed more than four years in jail.

Included in the group were Mark Leacock, 43, of Church Road, Crystal Palace, Scott Hutson, 24 of Headley Drive, New Addington, Iain Hall, 48, of St James Road, Croydon, Aaron Leacock, 24 of Starling Close, Croydon and Patrick Bennett, 27, of Cinnamon Close, Croydon.

Other members hailed from Carshalton, Lambeth and Enfield.

The court heard how the gang would first make a phone call to a victim, typically elderly, pretending to work for a bank and require details.

A second gang member would then visit the address as a courier to take the bank card.

By tracing the phone calls Surrey Police were able to track down members of the group as well as using CCTV from phone shops where the mobiles were purchased.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Rymarz, who led the investigation, said: "The sentences that have been handed to these callous individuals have ensured that they are locked up for some time to come.

"These offenders prey on the elderly and vulnerable and do not care about the devastating effect their actions can have on their victims' lives. It's not just about the money – which in some cases amounted to the victim's life savings – but it is also the long-term effect it can have on victims' faith in humanity and ability to trust people.”

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