A man has been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for stealing a total of £5,000 from four elderly victims.
A jury at Croydon Crown Court heard that Paul Debenham, 35, of Croydon, targeted the victims – aged between 80 and 95 – to obtain their debit cards.
Along with other suspects, Debenham would phone the victims claiming he was a representative from their bank.
Warning them that they had been targeted by fraudsters, he convinced them to share their card details with him.
The victims were then told that the bank would come and collect their cards, and that they should place them in an envelope along with a copy of their pin number.
Shortly after the calls were made, a courier would arrive at the victims’ addresses in a stolen car to collect the envelopes. The victims’ accounts were then drained from several cash machines.
Detective Constable Andy Garland said: “Debenham took a calculated approach to fool and mislead vulnerable people into giving away their money.”
The authorities were alerted when the victims and their families realised they had been defrauded, and an immediate investigation was launched.
Debenham was arrested at his home after police tracked him through CCTV footage from one of the cash machines he visited. Police found a list containing the addresses and telephone numbers of other elderly Croydon residents.
DC Garland said: “He preyed on [the victims’] trusting nature and encroached on them in their own homes with the sole purpose of stealing from others. I’d like to thank the victims for their bravery and courage in coming forward and providing police with the evidence needed to convict Debenham of his crimes”
Detectives are appealing for information as to the identity of Debenham’s accomplices, who helped him carry out the scheme.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police via 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.