Roadside scammers

First published in News

DRIVERS across the Andover area have been warned about roadside scams on Hampshire roads.

Between 1 October 2012 and 16 February 2013, Hampshire Constabulary received 65 reports of such incidents on highways across the county.

The scammers generally operate in lay-bys on main routes and junctions, especially the M3, M27 and A303.

The figures include incidents reported on the A30, A303 and Bullington Lane, all in Sutton Scotney, one on the A3057 Stockbridge, on the A3093 at Picket Twenty, the A34 Litchfield in Whitchurch, Broughton Road in Stockbridge, Tidworth, Walworth Industrial Estate in Pilgrims Way and Winchester Road, in Andover.

Offenders attempt to flag down motorists, often claiming they are out of fuel. They state they have no cash or have lost or left their wallet elsewhere and will offer gold jewellery or, in some cases, a watch in exchange for money.

Of the 65 incidents reported to police, motorists were conned out of cash on 11 occasions.

The amounts of cash vary from £10 up to £200 on one occasion.

Detective Superintendent Paul Barton said: “It seems the offenders in these cases are preying on the good nature of their victims.

“Sadly, some people willingly handed over cash thinking the offer would benefit them. However the gold is fake, often highly polished copper made to look like gold. The goods they offer are practically worthless.

“Thankfully, in the majority of reports we’ve heard about, the people contacting us did not take up the offer and were not duped.

“Tackling and disrupting organised crime is a priority for the force and it’s believed that the offenders are involved in such groups operating across the country.

“I hope the actions of these few criminals do not dissuade people from offering help at the side of the road to others who genuinely need it.”

Motorists are urged to call police if they spot anyone acting suspiciously in this way at the roadside and take down the registration number of the vehicle.

If you have been a victim and have not yet come forward, contact the police as soon as possible as it may help with their enquiries and trace the people doing this.

Police can be contacted on 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress.

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