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Adur and Worthing Bulletin
Alert message sent 10/03/2020 11:59:00
Information sent on behalf of Sussex Police
Tuesday 10th March 2020
News and appeals
Over £4.7m worth of fraud prevented in Sussex due to Banking Protocol
Over £4.7 million worth of fraud - often targeting vulnerable and elderly customers - has been prevented in Sussex through the Banking Protocol, a UK-wide scheme that enables bank branch staff to spot potential fraud victims and request an immediate police response.
The latest figures from UK Finance show 995 calls have been made through the rapid response scheme to Sussex Police since its launch in the region in June 2017, with an average of £4,700 of fraud being prevented per call. The initiative has led to the arrest of 43 suspected fraudsters in the region.
A total of 695 safeguarding concerns have been raised and a total of £4,700,242 financial loss has been prevented.
The Banking Protocol was introduced to crack down on scams in which customers are tricked into visiting their bank in person to withdraw money and hand it over to a criminal.
Under the initiative, developed in partnership between UK Finance, local police forces and National Trading Standards, bank branch staff are trained to spot the warning signs that suggest a customer may be falling victim to such a scam. Nationally, the scheme has prevented a total of £100 million of financial loss due to fraud.
The staff member can then invoke the Banking Protocol, leading the local police to send a priority response to the branch to investigate the suspected fraud and arrest any suspects still on the scene.
The protocol has formed an important part of Operation Signature, Sussex Police’s campaign launched by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to identify and support vulnerable victims of fraud.
PC Bernadette Lawrie, Surrey and Sussex Police Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer, said: "The Banking Protocol is a crucial scheme that helps stop fraudsters in their tracks, assisting police in identifying criminals and vulnerable victims. It means we can give individuals the necessary prevention advice to make sure they don’t lose out on their cash by falling victim to these awful scams."
Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: "Fraud is the fastest growing crime type and there are thousands of victims each year in Sussex who are targeted for their savings and are left feeling ‘foolish’ for putting their trust in clever con artists, with some left too ‘embarrassed’ to even report to the police.
"Criminals have become even more digitally equipped and savvy. It’s so easy now for people to track down our personal information or convincingly pose as somebody else. So, it’s important that the stigma on those who fall victim to fraud is eradicated.
"This is why Sussex Police’s fraud prevention work is leading the way nationally with the Banking Protocol and Op Signature. Residents are now educated on how to spot scams and we create community conversations about fraud; raising awareness and ultimately saving residents a loss of millions of pounds.
"The Fraud caseworkers also provide wrap around support for those who have unfortunately been successfully targeted and help them to safeguard themselves so they are not re-victimised in the future."
Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime, UK Finance, commented: "By working closely with law enforcement, we are striking a blow against the unscrupulous criminals who prey on elderly and vulnerable customers. These kinds of scams can have a devastating emotional impact on victims and so partnerships like the Banking Protocol are crucial to protect the public and bring those responsible to justice.
"Intervening early and educating customers to prevent these scams from happening means we can stop money getting into the hands of criminals in the first place. We would therefore urge people to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and be aware that criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money and remember that a bank or the police will never ask you to transfer funds to a ‘safe account’ or to withdraw cash to hand over to them for safe-keeping."
Lord Toby Harris, Chair, National Trading Standards, said: "Vulnerable victims being frogmarched into banks and building societies to withdraw large sums of cash is something our investigators see all too often. In many cases, the victims have been deliberately targeted by criminals because they are an older person living alone or because they live with a health condition. We’re proud to have played a part in shaping such an effective scheme to help prevent more people falling victim to scams."
In Sussex, all fraud should be reported to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. However, where the victim is vulnerable or elderly, please contact Sussex Police directly by calling 101.
For more information and advice see our Operation Signature information page here. https://www.sussex.police.uk/news/sussex/news/force-news/over-4.7m-worth-of-fraud-prevented-in-sussex-due-to-banking-protocol/
Witnesses sought after woman raped in Shoreham
Police investigating the rape of a woman in Shoreham are appealing for witnesses.
The attack took place in an alleyway off Middle Road, Shoreham, at about 2.30am on Sunday (8 March) morning. The 21-year-old victim was walking home when she was attacked by a man.
Detective Constable Hugh Charles from the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit said; "Although this investigation is at an early stage we are currently following specific lines of enquiry and residents in this area will notice police activity, including patrolling officers who are also paying extra attention to the area.
"The victim is receiving support from specially trained officers and at present this appears to be an isolated incident, not part of any recent series of crimes of any kind.
"If you have any information that may help our investigation, contact us on 101 or online quoting Operation Deacon.
"We also remind local people to continue to take common sense precautions to stay safe when out and about, and to report anything suspicious to us, either on 101 or via 999 in the event of emergency."
For advice on how to stay safe when you are out, see the Sussex Police website. https://www.sussex.police.uk/news/sussex/news/witness-appeals/witnesses-sought-after-woman-raped-in-shoreham/
Sussex Police continue to investigate the disappearance of Georgina
Saturday, 7 March marks the two year anniversary of the disappearance of Worthing woman Georgina Gharsallah.
Georgina, now 32, was last seen or heard from on the morning of 7 March, 2018. Since this time, we have been committed to investigate what happened to her on the day she went missing.
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Andy Wolstenhome said: “I cannot begin to think how difficult not only this day, but the last two years have been for the family and friends of Georgina.
“Since the investigation into her disappearance started we have had a dedicated team of officers and staff committed to looking into any viable lines of enquiry we have encountered.
“This has included the search of a number of locations, conducted over 1,000 house-to-house enquiries and investigated over 70 potential sightings of Georgina.
“Last summer I took the decision to record the case as a homicide. This was not an easy decision to make and was in no way intended to take hope away from Georgina’s family and friends.
“However, Georgina was someone who would spend a lot of time on her phone and on social media but all of this and any financial transactions on her bank accounts stopped the day she went missing. It is for this reason I am led to believe there is not an innocent reason for her disappearance.
“We will continue to investigate all viable lines of enquiry and have been working closely with the independent charity Crimestoppers and the Missing Persons charity to ensure Georgina remains in the public domain.
“Any information we receive will be treated in strict confidence. Someone out there must know something.”
Crimestoppers charity are offering a £10,000 reward for information which leads to leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the murder of Georgina Gharsallah from Worthing.
You can report information to Sussex Police via 101 or online or you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously.
Alerts/Press Releases sent out this week click the link to see full details.
Crime summary Burglary
Reference: 0731 07/03/2020
Location: Chester Avenue, Worthing.
Date and time: Between 6th and 7th March
Details: Locks were broken on a door to gain entry. Cash, a watch, laptops, and a pedal cycle were stolen.
Burglary Other than Dwelling
Reference: 1014 03/03/2020
Location: Albion Street, Southwick
Date and time: Between 25th February and 3rd March
Details: Entry was gained to an outbuilding by breaking a padlock. Several items stolen.
Reference: 0686 05/03/2020
Location: Old Salts Farm Road, Lancing
Date and time: Between 4th and 5th March
Details: A garage door was forced to gain entry. Fishing equipment and cable were stolen.
Reference: 0274 06/03/2020
Location: Wilmot Road, Shoreham
Date and time: Between 6th and 7th March
Details: An attempt was made to break into a garage.
Help us keep Sussex safe
If you saw or heard anything, or have any information about any incident in this message please contact us online, email us at email@example.com or call 101, quoting the reference number provided.
Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
Links and attachments: Sussex Police will only ever link you to secure Websites we trust. We will only send you attachments where we believe it is absolutely necessary.
Message sent by
Lindsey Wine (Police, Prevention Support & Engagement Officer, Sussex)