POLICE are warning of a group of men posing as police officers after an elderly Cheltenham man was conned into handing over £7,000.

The incident happened in the Merestones Drive area of the town at around 11am on Friday February 28.

The victim, a 79-year-old man received a call from a man claiming to be a Sgt Mark Gibson, a Metropolitan Police Officer from Hammersmith Police.

The offender told the victim that he had been the victim of a potential fraud at his bank and that he needed to withdraw money from his account as evidence as the bank was to be raided on Monday.

The offender told the victim to call 101 to verify that Sgt Gibson was genuine. However the offender kept the line open, so when the victim called 101 he was still connected to the offender who told him that Sgt Mark Gibson was real.

This detail is shared by similar incidents recently, in Cheltenham and in the Cotswolds.

The victim withdrew £7,000 from his bank and a taxi driver arrived and picked the cash up.

Senior Harm Reduction Advisor Dave McFarlane said “Sadly this type of incident is becoming all too common as these unscrupulous characters take advantage of innocent victims by winning their trust.

“Most of these types of scams involve stealing the victim’s cards, however this time the fraudsters have been brazen and managed to convince the victim to hand over cash.

"We are reiterating the following message to everyone, particularly those vulnerable members of our community: The police will NEVER ask you to send any items via courier and the banks will NEVER ask for your personal details, whether that's over the phone or via email.

"If you get a call like this hang up, even disconnect the phone before ringing 101 and reporting the incident.

"If you do fall victim to the initial part of the scam let us know straight away and don't hand anything over to the courier."

For more crime prevention advice, please log onto gloucestershire.police.uk