If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
Roadside scammers operating in Hampshire
2:00pm Sunday 3rd March 2013 in News
DRIVERS are being warned to beware of people approaching them on the roadside in Hampshire after a series of scams.
Hampshire Police have received 65 reports of scams in the last four months, and they fear the actual number could be a lot higher.
The scammers usually operate in lay-bys on main routes and junctions, especially the M3, M27 and A303.
They attempt to flag down motorists, often claiming they are out of fuel. They say they have no cash or have lost or left their wallet elsewhere and will offer gold jewellery or a watch in exchange for money.
Of the 65 incidents reported to police since October 1, motorists were conned out of cash on 11 occasions. The amounts of cash have varied from £10 up to £200.
Detective Superintendent Paul Barton said: “It seems the offenders in these cases are preying on the good nature of their victims. Sadly, some people handed over cash thinking the offer would benefit them.
“However, the gold is fake, often highly polished copper made to look like gold. The goods they offer are practically worthless.
“Thankfully, in the majority of reports we’ve heard about, the people contacting us did not take up the offer and were not duped.
“Tackling and disrupting organised crime is a priority for the force and it’s believed that the offenders are involved in such groups operating across the country.
“I hope the actions of these few criminals do not dissuade people from offering help at the side of the road to others who genuinely need it.”
Members of the public who spot anyone acting suspiciously in this way at the roadside should call police. If possible, take down the registration number of the vehicle.
Police say if you suspect someone’s request for help isn’t genuine, don’t be afraid to refuse, especially if you think that person is trying to scam you, and call police immediately.
People who have targeted by one of these scams and haven’t yet come forward are asked to contact the police.
Anyone with information about these roadside scams in Hampshire or the Isle of Wight can contact police on 101, or call 999 if you suspect a crime is in progress.