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A man from Birmingham who attempted to steal £8,300 from a vulnerable man in Macclesfield has been sentenced.
Shortly after 10.30am on Wednesday 28 February 2020 an 85-year-old Macclesfield resident received a phone call from a man claiming to be a police officer.
The caller convinced the victim that there had been a number of suspicious transactions on his bank account and that his money was at risk.
He was also informed that police believed the suspect in the case was an employee at the bank.
The victim was told that in order to secure his money he needed to withdraw it from his bank, return home with the cash and a courier would call to collect it.
The money would be returned to him at a later date.
Believing the caller, who was extremely plausible, the man went to his bank in Macclesfield.
He was told it was only possible to withdraw £1,000 which, still thinking he was assisting police, he agreed to.
While waiting for his cash, the man spotted a Cheshire police poster stating that “police would never ask you to withdraw money from your bank”.
Realising he was in the process of being scammed, he went straight to Macclesfield Police Station and explained the situation.
Plain clothed officers made their way to the victim’s house and waited in the hallway for the courier to arrive.
Marcello Gaspar subsequently knocked on door and told the victim he was there to collect the cash on behalf of a police sergeant.
Gaspar, of Arundel Road, Birmingham, was arrested at the address on suspicion of fraud by false representation.
He pleaded guilty to the offence and on Thursday 6 August, he appeared at Chester Crown Court where he was sentenced to 15 weeks in prison, suspended for two years,
He has also been ordered to complete 60 hours unpaid work.
Following his sentencing Detective Sergeant Chris Jacques from the Cheshire Police Economic Crime Unit said: “To specifically target a vulnerable, elderly man with the intent to defraud him of thousands of pounds is simply sickening and I cannot understand how somebody can stoop so low as to commit such an offence.
“In this case, it was only due to the fact that the victim saw the police poster in the bank and realised that he was being scammed that we were able to bring Gasper to justice.
“Sadly, this is not always the outcome and over the past twelve months we are aware of many more victims who have lost thousands of pounds. The impact of these scams can be both financially and emotionally devastating, and in many cases the people responsible are never traced.”
Gasper was caught thanks to a poster which had been displayed in the bank as part of a concerted campaign launched by Cheshire Police to help tackle courier fraud.
The campaign has been supported by the majority of banks and building societies.
Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane, said: “I would personally like to thank the bank and building society managers across Cheshire who have been extremely proactive in displaying these posters and helping us tackle courier fraud.
“Those who perpetrate this type of crime are preying on, primarily, the older members of society by purporting to be from the police or a financial institution. They coerce the victim to withdraw large amounts of cash to ‘assist them in an ongoing investigation’ and then disappear with the money.
“The impact of these scams can be both absolutely devastating but, with the work that frontline officers are doing with the support of our banks and building societies, I hope that we are able to prevent more of this type of crime being committed.”