Fraud officers give vulnerable man his life and confidence back
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Officers from Northamptonshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit have helped a 68-year-old man get his confidence back after he was taken financial advantage of by a neighbour.
Over the Covid-19 lockdown, the Duston man was being repeatedly asked by a neighbour for huge sums of money.
The neighbour used lots of different reasons including claiming to owe money for COVID-19 fines and taking advantage of the victim’s inability to do his shopping.
Thinking the 32-year-old man was his friend and someone who could be trusted, the 68-year-old victim handed over a total of £30,000, leaving him in debt.
Police officers were made aware of this incident and visited the victim at his house however he denied being financially abused as he could not believe that the 32-year-old man was taking advantage of him.
However, officers persevered, spending over two hours in the victim’s flat. Eventually, he understood the situation and whilst he didn't want to pursue criminal action, he accepted our offer of helping him – a plan was put in place to safeguard him and confront the suspect.
Working with partners from the local council and Orbit Housing, the locks were changed at the victim’s home and the neighbour had proceedings started against him for breaching his tenancy agreement.
The victim was also offered a number of support services in order to create a wraparound bubble of support to reduce vulnerability, loneliness and support with the debt.
He was referred to ‘Happy at Home’ – a befriending service for weekly home visits by their buddy service volunteers, and to ‘Duston Good Neighbour’ - a voluntary service to support him with shopping, befriending and medication collections. He was also referred to a community law charity to work out affordable repayments on his debt.
The 32-year-old man was issued with a community protection notice meaning he cannot contact the victim for money in any way.
Finally, the victim, whose confidence had grown exponentially as a result of police support, asked whether he could confront the offender and read out a statement to him to demonstrate how let down he felt and explain the damage the 32-year-old man had done to him.
Lead Investigator, PC Michael Rogers from the Economic Crime Unit, said: “This case was an incredible one to work on as with our help and gentle encouragement, the victim here went from a timid individual to a confident, outspoken man.
“He is a truly inspiring person and I am pleased that we persevered here as it has left him feeling liberated and back in control of his life.
“I walk away from this case feeling pleased that I have done something worthwhile - helped a victim to regain his confidence, stand up to a controlling offender and get his life back on track.
“I’d like to thank our partner agencies for their help in this case as well as the Anti-Social Behaviour Unit in Force whose advice on the civil legislation we could use against the offender here was invaluable.”
Detective Sergeant Simon Seed of the Economic Crime Unit, added: “This was a first class job from Michael and the team who went the extra mile for this victim and completely turned his life around.
“Had we not pursued this, this man would still be handing money over and for that reason, I am really pleased with the result here.”
If you are regularly being asked for money, even from a trusted source, then consider if this is a real need or are they taking advantage of you? You can contact your local PCSO or PC on the Neighbourhood teams if you are worried on 101.
Tackling anti-social behaviour is a matter of priority for Northamptonshire Police – if you are being subjected to, or have information about it, please report it to us on 101, online at www.northants.police.uk/RO, or call 999 in an emergency.