Three arrested in Lancashire raids after victims of courier fraud conned out of £650k nationally

Several men were arrested after police smashed their way into three homes in Blackburn as part of a national courier fraud investigation.

By Sean Gleaves
Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 7:50 pm

Officers executed three raids in Azalea Road, Waterloo Close and Moorgate Street on Wednesday morning (February 23).

Two men, aged 37 and 47, from Blackburn, were subsequently arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation and money laundering.

A 48-year-old man, also from Blackburn, was also arrested on suspicion of fraud and forgery.

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The raids were conducted as part of Operation Fardel - an investigation launched in November 2021 following reports of courier fraud in the county dating back to summer 2020.

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Det Insp Mark Riley, from Lancashire Police Economic Crime Unit, said: "Victims of courier fraud are caught off guard by expert criminals who use ruthless tactics to convince victims to act immediately putting pressure on them.

"Anyone is susceptible to this and it isn’t just financially damaging, it also leaves victims with emotional scars."

Three men were arrested after police executed raids in Blackburn as part of a national courier fraud investigation.

"Our investigation has seen some significant losses from our most vulnerable victims."

There were hundreds of reports of attempts of courier fraud nationally, with 30 people in total reporting financial losses, police said.

These losses totalled £650,000, but police said "in most cases" victims managed to secure their money back via their banks.

In one case, an elderly woman from Tarleton had £200,000 stolen when a fraudster requested her bank details as part of a fake fraud investigation.

The fraudster also asked the victim to purchase goods before leaving them on her doorstep for them to be collected by a man posing as a courier.

Lancashire Police's investigation, which brought together intelligence from police forces from across the country, traced mobile phone records and CCTV to identify the addresses in Blackburn.

Items seized following Wednesday's raids included a number of mobile phones, laptops and iPads.

"The offending has occurred countrywide and this series of warrants will look to go some way to getting closure for some of those victims while preventing any further losses," Det Insp Mark Riley added.

The raids followed a week of action as part of the Home Office’s Project Plutus, aimed at disrupting organised crime networks of fraudsters across the country.

During the week of action, police seized £250,000 as part of a long-running investigation into money laundering in Blackpool.

Lancashire Police & Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden added: "It was great to join officers out on our streets in Blackburn who were doing what the public want to see, cracking down on crime and targeting criminals who manipulate their victims and destroy lives.

"Tackling fraudsters who take advantage of often the most vulnerable people need to know that we're coming for them and will take them off the streets."

For help and advice about how you can stay safe from scammers, visit Action Fraud by clicking HERE or calling 0300 123 2040.

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