North East Regional Special Operations Unit

South Shields Men Jailed For Courier Fraud

News / June 09

Appearing at Newcastle Crown Court on Friday 9th June 2017 Two South Tyneside men have been jailed for the courier frauds that saw them claim to be police to con elderly people out of cash.

Operation Diamond was a reactive investigation by NERSOU in conjunction with Northumbria Police into 2 series of courier frauds which occurred in the North East region between Monday 27th October 2014 and Monday 27th July 2015. This investigation identified an Organised Crime Group based in the South Shields area which operates locally within the North East Region as well as having national and international links to London and Bangladesh.

Appearing at Newcastle Crown Court on Friday 9th June 2017 Two South Tyneside men have been jailed for the courier frauds that saw them claim to be police to con elderly people out of cash.

The elaborate fraud saw elderly victims contacted over the phone from either a DCI Nelson or DCI Paul Barry claiming to be from the Metropolitan Police Fraud squad. The 'DCI' then told the victim fraudulent activity had been identified on their bank account and that staff at the bank were suspected of being involved.

The caller requested the victim hang up and call police back on either 101 or 999 to verify their identity - however the 'DCI' did not hang up leaving the line open so as the victim dialled the 'safe' number they were still connected to the conmen who were able to continue their fraud.

Some victims were also advised to ring their bank using the number on their bank card - again the fraudsters did not hang up leaving the line open so the victim is reconnected to them.

The fraudsters then told the victims to withdraw a large amount of money from their bank account so it could be tested for fingerprints. They were told a 'police courier' would come and collect the cash from their home address and would provide an agreed passcode.

More than 50 victims were contacted by the conmen between October 2014 and July 2015 with four falling foul to their scam and handing over a large amount of cash to the group. However, Tom Moran prosecuting told the court that had the criminals been successful with all of their targets then the total defrauded would have been in the region of £250,000.

Suhel Uddin and Saeed Laskar had  both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud. Following the investigation by the North East Regional Specialist Operations Unit (NERSOU) and Northumbria Police in which Laskar, 22 years, of Palmerston Street, South Shields was identified as "The Courier" and responsible for going to victims addresses and collected the money from them - posing as the Police Courier. Uddin, 40 years, of Newmarket Walk, South Shields was identified as "The Director" who was responsible for organising the crime group in South Shields and directing Laskar to the victims addresses.

Uddin was jailed for four-and-a-half years while Laskar got 4 years. Jailing the pair at Newcastle Crown Court Judge Penny Moreland told them; “This was one of the most cynical, heartless frauds I have seen. Your behaviour in preying on the elderly is despicable”

Detective Constable Paddy O'Keefe from NERSOU led the investigation in to the fraud. Following today's sentencing, he said: "This is a despicable crime where the most vulnerable members of our communities have been targeted by these criminals who have sought to steal what in many cases was their life savings. The tactic used by the criminals in this case took advantage of the trust and respect these peopel had for the police and used it against them. Hopefully the sentences passed today will help reassure the public that the police are here to protect our communities from organised crime and send a clear message to those criminals targeting the North East that you will be pursued and brought to justice for your actions."

DC O'Keefe added: "These fraudsters prey on the good nature of those who are most vulnerable in our communities who do not have any reason to believe they are not genuine and our advice is if anyone thinks they have been contacted by a bogus caller they should contact police. Clearly these men claimed to be from the police and even advised the victim to ring 101 or 999 and our advice would be for victims to ring someone they know whose voice they will recognise before ringing police, or if they have a mobile phone or different line, ring from that to ensure the fraudsters do not still have the call."

© NERSOU 2018