These Preston women befriended and exploited vulnerable pensioners to get their money

Two women have been named and shamed for befriending and exploiting elderly and vulnerable men for money in Preston.

Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 6:53 pm

Sheena Thomason and Stacey Cummings have been hit with civil injunctions following a major police operation involving Preston City Council and local housing associations.

Operation Wolf was launched after it was reported a group of women in Preston were proactively seeking out and befriending elderly, vulnerable men to get cash from them.

Police said the victims were usually isolated and often had "learning difficulties or dementia", making them more vulnerable and susceptible to being groomed.

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Civil injunctions were secured against Thomason and Cummings by Places for People with support from Lancashire Police as part of the operation.

Sgt Dan Wood from Preston Police said: "These types of incidents are particularly cruel given they involve extremely vulnerable people and amount to grooming and exploitation for money.

"As the cash is often willingly handed over to people by victims who believe the offenders are their 'friends', it makes it very difficult to prove a crime has happened. However by taking this multi-agency approach we are able to work with our partners to do what we can to protect these vulnerable members of our society.

"Sometimes, victims feel embarrassed or ashamed about what has happened and don’t want to speak to us about it. I want them to know it is not their fault and I would encourage them to please come forward so we can stop this happening to others. We will support you."

Sheena Thomason (left) and Stacey Cummings (right). (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Thomason, 46, of Tennyson Road, was given a 12-month civil injunction until August 12, 2021.

She is not allowed to visit the locality of Molyneux Court, Preston, cause harassment or engage in threatening behaviour.

Cummings, 35, of Elizabeth Street, received a two-year civil injunction until August 17, 2022.

She is not allowed to enter the area around both Molyneux Court and St Paul's Court, Preston.

Cummings is also forbidden to cause distress, nuisance and annoyance to any person residing or visiting the locality of St Paul's Court.

Another woman, who has not been named or pictured, was issued with a community protection warning in conjunction with Preston City Council after it was reported she had been targeting vulnerable people for money and goods.

Councillor Robert Boswell, Cabinet member for environment and community safety at Preston City Council, said: "The results so far on this operation are a testament to the hard work of officers and shows what can be achieved by working together.

"It takes a multi-agency approach, using all the powers each organisation has available to tackle this type of callous behaviour towards vulnerable people.

"I hope this sends a message to those who are victims that it’s vital you speak out and report anyone taking advantage of you or your loved ones, and to those involved that exploitation will not be tolerated and robust action will be taken."

If you or someone you know is being exploited, you can contact police by calling 101 emailing [email protected]

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