Anti-social behaviour and fraudster swindling Sidmouth residents on police radar

Sgt Andy Squires gave councillors his latest report.

Sgt Andy Squires gave councillors his latest report. - Credit: Archant

A Sidmouth resident was stung out of £5,000 when a phony detective rung her up to say her grandson was in jail and needed bail money.

There have been six courier frauds in Sidmouth over the last few months and police are appealing to residents across the area to be careful.

Sergeant Andy Squires spoke about the latest police statistics at the Sidmouth Town Meeting on Monday, January 5.

He said the latest example was when a fraudster called a random member of the public saying they were a detective from the metropolitan police.

They said they had her grandson in custody and she needed to deliver £5,000, in £1,000 bundles, for his bail to Hammersmith Police Station by 9am the next morning.

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The victim said she could not possibly get it to London by 9am the next morning so a phoney detective was sent to collect it from her doorstep within three hours.

He also asked her to enclose her bank card and pin number to pay for a taxi and accommodation.

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Sgt Squires said: "No police officer will ever ask you to hand over money.

"This courier fraud is so prevalent at the moment it would justify calling 999 just to get the message through to us, because ideally, what we would like to do is a have a call from somebody who has the arrangement in place before said detective arrives and then we can meet them on the doorstep instead of the victim."

During the meeting, Sgt Squires also spoke about the main problems they had been tackling in the area.

Among the issues mentioned was the antisocial behaviour which has been plaguing Lymebourne Park residents.

Sgt Squires said: "We have been working hard on a couple of trouble makers. We have been working hard with East Devon District Council who are hoping to put some injunctions in place to put them under a bit more control...

"They are not quite as much a threat as they have been hyped up, I have to say.

"Although they are a bit confrontational at times when they have had too much to drink so we are trying to get them under control as best we can given the tools we have got."

The Herald contact EDDC about the matter. A council spokesman said: "Recent concerns have been raised with us about anti-social behaviour at Lymebourne Park, and these are currently being investigated.

"Any allegations concerning drug dealing will be addressed in conjunction with the Police and will not be tolerated. Tenants are responsible for the actions of their visitors where they invite them into their homes and we are able to take action under the terms of the tenancy agreement, where we have proof that this is occurring.

"Where we have evidence to confirm the allegations we will take firm and decisive action. Our tenants' safety is a priority for the council and we ask tenants to report any concerns to our officers."

During the Sidmouth Town Council meeting Sgt Squires said 42 crimes were recorded in the Sidmouth area in January, this is up from 36 in January 2019.

This number includes one murder, eight violence with injury crimes, 12 violence without injuries, one burglary dwelling, two non-dwelling burglaries, one vehicle offence, four shop liftings, four other thefts, seven criminal damages, one public order offence and one other offence. The number of incidents reported had gone down from 132 to 123, for January - meaning crime is up by 16 per cent but incdients are down 4.9 per cent.

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