Police make their first arrest in banking bid to protect pensioners

�Police have made their first arrest following the launch of a new project to stop fraudsters before they con pensioners out of thousands of pounds.

Havering Council, along with Havering police, launched the country’s first banking protocol last month.

They teamed up with local banks and older people’s charity, Age Concern Havering, to create the protocol to keep residents safe when they withdraw their money.

The council hopes it will give the elderly and vulnerable people in Havering using the bank greater protection from thieves and conmen.

The Romford branches of Lloyds TSB, the Co-operative Bank, Santander and Natwest pledged their support to the scheme and were at Romford Town Hall to launch the event.


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Pressured

It came after several local people were pressured into withdrawing their savings by bogus builders, including one elderly man from Havering who took out �10,000 from his account after being driven to the bank twice by conmen.

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They said they would do work to his house but never did.

Now, under the protocol, cashiers ask set questions if they see anyone withdrawing a large amount of money, like asking what the money is for, and encouraging them to issue a cheque instead.

Cllr Geoff Starns, cabinet member for community safety, said: “This is an important new initiative.If we can prevent just one person falling victim to crooks, it will be worthwhile.”

Chief Inspector Tracey Goddard-King, of Havering police, said: “While levels of these crimes remain relatively low, this scheme sends a strong message to criminals that this borough, its residents and banking services will not tolerate their actions.”

Details of the first arrest were not available at the time of going to press.

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