A scam gang have been jailed for a total of 16 years for preying on the elderly and conning them out of half a million pounds.
Victims, including across Herts, were contacted by the three men purporting to be either police officers or bank officials investigating fraud between May 2015 and January 2016.
Once the conmen had gained the victims’ trust, they convinced them to withdraw large sums of money or purchase items such as jewellery, in order to assist their ‘investigation’.
The victims were then convinced to hand these items to ‘couriers’ acting on behalf of the offenders.
In one instance, a victim was conned into handing over £166,000 worth of jewellery.
Detective Sergeant Jon Leak said: “This despicable gang ruthlessly targeted vulnerable members of society for their own selfish gains and I am pleased with the sentencing.
“Phone scams can have a devastating effect on the victims, as people often lose vast sums of money as well as their confidence and trust.
“I hope this investigation sends a clear message that we will be relentless in our pursuit of those suspected to be involved in these crimes and bring them to justice.”
Following an investigation by a specialist team from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Operation Manhunt unit, 19 people were arrested and charged in connection with 36 offences.
Some of the offenders, who were mainly schoolboys, were caught by police as they collected cash from victims.
The remaining three members of the gang, who were the main organisers of the scams, were sentenced at St Albans Crown Court this week.
Zakir Alom, 25, from Fleet Square, Camden, was sentenced to six years and five months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to steal. Fawaz Miah, 21 from Cromer Street, Camden, was sentenced to four years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to steal. Rashal Tafader, aged 23, from Argyle Square, Camden, was sentenced to six years and six months after being found guilty of conspiracy to steal.