Worried staff at Lloyds Bank in South Shields reached out to officers at Northumbria Police on Thursday (October 13), after a man in his 70s sought to withdraw an additional £3,000, having already withdrawn £5,000 that week. After being questioned by the bank staff, the man explained that roofers who had agreed to work on his home had told him that they urgently needed more money to complete the work quickly, because it was due to rain.
The bank and the police worked together to protect the man, as staff activated the banking protocol after becoming concerned, they blocked the transaction and contacted the police. Officers attended the man’s address and inspected the roof, only to find one roof tile missing and another loose. Two men, one aged 22 and the other aged 21, were arrested on suspicion of fraud. They have since been bailed.
Chief Inspector Nicola Walker, of Northumbria Police’s Southern Response Team, praised quick-thinking staff for preventing a suspected large-scale fraud. She said: “Sadly incidents of this nature are becoming increasingly common as people try to make money by preying on the elderly and the vulnerable. What’s despicable about crimes like this is that they manipulate people’s fears and coerce them into giving their savings.
“In this case bank staff were vigilant and able to help an elderly man - their quick intervention saved him from losing a lot of money. Staff trusted their instincts, picked up on the signs that something wasn’t quite right and relayed these concerns to us so we were able to respond in real time and make some arrests. We regularly work with banks in our area to provide training to staff in order to help them spot signs of fraud and how best to act.
“Fast action from our officers also resulted in the victim being safeguarded and given bespoke advice to protect him from this happening again. We will continue to work closely with the banks and building societies to protect people from falling victim to such awful scams.”