Carshalton man among gang jailed for £120,000 bank card scam
Ten members of an organised crime gang who conned vulnerable residents out of £120,000 were jailed for a total of 40 years last week.
Among the group, that targeted elderly and vulnerable people across the South East, was Paul Bennett of Ferndale Crescent, Carshalton.
Bennett was given four years in prison for his role in the mass scam at Guildford Crown Court.
Between April 2011 and February 2012 the group stole or attempted to steal in the region of £200,000 in cash and goods from victims' bank accounts.
One member of the group would call the victim claiming to be from their bank and tell them their card needed replacing and a courier would be round to pick it up.
The "courier", another gang member, would collect the card, but not before the initial caller had gleaned basic information from the victim, including their pin number.
The stolen card would be used within minutes at a cash machine and if the card was not cancelled it would be used to make large cash withdrawals or used to buy expensive goods.
Officers made enquiries in to the phone numbers used to call the victims which included a phone number registered to Aaron Leacock, from Croydon.
Enquiries in to another phone number used in an offence in January 2012 found that the phone had been purchased the day before and, following review of CCTV at the shop where the phone had been purchased, other gang members were identified.
Paul Bennett was identified on CCTV using or attempting to use stolen bank cards.
Detective chief inspector Paul Rymarz, who led the investigation, said: "The sentences that have been handed to these callous individuals have ensured that they are locked up for some time to come.
These offenders prey on the elderly and vulnerable and do not care about the devastating effect their actions can have on their victims' lives. It's not just about the money - which in some cases amounted to the victim's life savings - but it is also the long-term effect it can have on victims' faith in humanity and ability to trust people."
Surrey Police's Cross Border Investigation Team looked into over 180 offences in Surrey, London, Sussex and Kent