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Wealden District Police Weekly News and Alerts

Alert message sent 19/06/2020 09:35:00

Information sent on behalf of Sussex Police

Friday 19th June 2020

Wealden District Police Weekly News and Alerts

Concerns for Stuart Cooper, believed to be missing on Ashdown Forest – UPDATE

It is with sadness we update that a body has been found in the search for missing man Stuart Cooper. 

The 48-year-old man was reported missing from Eastbourne on Sunday morning (June 14). 

Formal identification has yet to take place, but a body found in Ashdown Forest on Wednesday (June 17) is sadly believed to be that of Stuart Cooper.

His next of kin have been informed and the matter has been passed to the coroner's officer.

Hailsham man sentenced for attempt to steal from elderly Bexhill resident

A Hailsham man has been sentenced to 14 months in prison after attempting to steal cash from an elderly Bexhill resident.

Jimmy Stonestreet, 28, a gardener, of Downash, Hailsham, was sentenced when he appeared on bail by videolink at Lewes Crown Court on Friday (June 12).

He had pleaded guilty at Brighton Magistrates' Court on May 15 to fraud by false representation against a 74-year-old man in St Mary's Close, Bexhill, two days previously.

The resident reported that as he was returning home a man, later identified through police enquiries at Stonestreet, had entered his flat unannounced and claimed to be owed £120 cash for guttering work he had allegedly carried out at an earlier date. The resident refused to part with any money and the man left.

Stonestreet was also issued with a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) preventing him from trespassing on any commercial land; trespassing on any private property; cold-calling at residential properties looking for business; and having any item in public which could be used in the commission of a burglary, or theft of or from vehicles.

Detective Inspector Mark Rosser said: "This was a great result by investigators based at Hastings who spent many hours meticulously seeking out evidence to support a charge against a despicable criminal, someone preying on the most vulnerable people in our community."

Operation Blitz - ASB Patrols

This weekend's phone number/s is: 07770700642

Please use the above number/s to contact the team direct to report anti-social behaviour between the hours of 6pm and midnight on Friday and Saturday.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Protecting older people from financial abuse

Monday (15 June) saw us mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day - a day that aims to raise awareness of the maltreatment of older people.
Abuse against the elderly can be physical, financial, sexual or psychological. It can occur anywhere and can have serious long-term physical and psychological consequences for victims. 

Sussex Police is taking this opportunity to raise awareness of financial abuse against the elderly. 

Operation Signature is our campaign to identify, protect and support vulnerable victims of fraud. Through this, we have identified reports from 1,427 victims over 75 in the past year (June 2019 to May 2020) - with the oldest victim being 102 years of age.

The total loss of these frauds was £5,356,270, with the average being £10,975. Out of the 1,427 victims, 61 per cent were female and 39 per cent were male. The vast majority - 68 per cent (965) - live alone. 

The most commonly reported types of frauds affecting the elderly in the last year have been:

1. Courier or impersonator fraud - which is when criminals pretend to be from an organisation such as a bank to take personal details or money from victims. Sussex Police recorded 421 incidents involving over 75s in the past year and more details about this sort of crime can be found here.

2. Door step crime or rogue traders frauds (318 in the past year).

3. Telephone scams (185 in the past year).

4. Software service frauds (86 in the past year).

5.Financial abuse known person frauds (76 in the past year). 

Most victims were contacted by telephone (64 per cent) and 25 percent in person.

In March an 82-year-old woman from Battle attempted to withdraw £7,500 funds to transfer to a fraudster claiming it was for his wife’s funeral. The bank contacted police under the Banking Protocol scheme which trains bank branch staff to watch out for signs that someone may be about to fall victim to a scam. 

Police attended and the victim said she had received a call from someone pretending to be a police officer and was told there was an ongoing investigation into her bank as money had disappeared from her account.

She was instructed to transfer all money out of the account and into a safe account. The victim believed this to be true and attended the bank to do so whilst still on the phone to the caller. Thankfully in this instance the victim lost no money and was given prevention advice. 

PC Bernadette Lawrie, Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer for Sussex and Surrey Police said: "Sadly cases like this are all too common.

"Financial abuse against the elderly has a devastating impact and we are committed to protecting the vulnerable from such maltreatment. These statistics shine a light on the different ways in which elderly victims are being exploited by unscrupulous people who want to take their money. 

"These despicable fraudsters shamelessly target the vulnerable. Victims can be left feeling frightened or sometimes embarrassed of being taken advantage of. 

"There are steps that can be taken to protect yourself. Always double check people are who they say they are, never feel pressured to make decisions on the spot and always trust your instincts. 

"We would urge anyone with elderly friends or relatives to ensure they're aware of what to watch out for. As part of Operation Signature we have a number of educational resources such as the Little Book of Big Scams and our monthly newsletter detailing recent incidents in the local area."

Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: "In these particularly challenging times, people’s minds are understandably pre-occupied and many of our older residents are left feeling lonely and detached from the world around them. This can often lead to them letting their guard down and becoming susceptible to criminals who will then take advantage.

"This is why the operational response to these crimes by Sussex Police is so important. I’m proud of the initiative they have taken to protect and support all victims of fraud by developing Operation Signature and introducing a Banking Protocol.

"We’re seeing reporting rise as more and more people understand that scams are fraud and fraud is a crime. On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, it’s more important than ever to repeat the message that fraud of our elderly is not acceptable and will not be tolerated."

Key things to remember:
  • Never send or give money to anyone you don't know or trust.
  • Check people are who they say they are.
  • Don't share your personal information.
  • Make decisions in your own time.
  • If in doubt phone a relative or a friend.
  • Trust no-one who cold calls you about your bank account or a problem with your computer.
  • Under no circumstances would the bank or police:
  • request a card PIN or security details over the telephone, or
  • arrange collection of bank cards from a home address

Crime Summary

Livestock was stolen from a property off the A22, Upper Dicker, sometime during the day of the 14th, to the 15th June. Suspects have gained entry to the property via trespassing. (1152 of 15/06 relates)

A bicycle was stolen from a garage at a property off Timberlane Road, Pevensey Bay during overnight on the 15th June. Suspects have used force to prize open garage door to gain entry. (305 of 16/06 relates)

There have been no further reports of residential burglaries on the Wealden district.

For a range of crime prevention advice, support and tips to keep you and your property safe can be found here.

If you have been the victim of a burglary, please report online, or by calling 101 – always dial 999 in an emergency/burglary in action.

Action Fraud scam watch

Did you know scams cost the UK economy £5-£10 Billion a year, with over 50% of people over 65 having already been targeted by scams; and only 5% of all scams reported?

This week’s scam and fraud warnings from Action Fraud:

Action Fraud’s top tips

Although fraud and cybercrime comes in many forms, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself.

Follow Action Frauds’ personal safety checklist to keep you and those around you safe from fraud here.

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, or call 101, quoting the reference number provided.

Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at

You can also visit our website at where you can find our easy to use online forms to report all non-emergencies to us.

You can also find police advice to keep you safe and help you understand the law, and also browse our crime prevention pages for first-hand knowledge, industry best practices and practical crime prevention advice from officers and specialist teams all across the police.

Have you ever had a policing question that doesn't actually require direct police involvement to answer?

Ask the Police is a great online source of information for the most frequently asked policing questions, visit for more information.

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