An 88-year-old woman cruelly conned out of her life savings would have been unable to pay her bills without the help of some very kind police officers.
Cheshire Constabulary’s specials division put their hands into their own pockets to raise £1,400 for the victim.
The vulnerable pensioner, from Northwich, had emptied her bank account after being tricked by a ruthless fraudster.
Without that money she would have been able to buy food or heat her home.
Cheshire Special Constabulary chief officer Celvyn Jones said he was ‘overwhelmed’ by the generosity of his team.
He said: “This was a sad case of a vulnerable woman who had been deceived of her life savings by a cold-hearted criminal.
“Had it not been for the actions taken by the special chief inspector, along with all of the specials who have pledged to donate cash, then the victim would have been unable to buy the most basic of groceries or pay any of her bills.
“Yet the victim no longer needs to worry about how she is going to pay her next bill, which in turn has helped restore the victims’ faith in community spirit.”
The force was contacted by the 88-year-old on April 25.
She had been called up by the trickster who told her she was owed £9,000 in PPI payments. To get this she had to provide £1,000 in iTunes vouchers.
She took everything out of her bank account before passing the details of the vouchers to the heartless criminal.
It was not until she visited Northwich police station to check everything was OK that she discovered the deception.
The helpdesk supervisor, who is also a Chester-based special chief inspector, felt she had to act.
She emailed her colleagues for ideas about what to do.
Within three hours specials from across Cheshire Constabulary had pledged £1,400 of their own money.
Northwich chief inspector Simon Meegan said: “It is sad to see that somebody would stoop so low and deceive a vulnerable woman of all of her savings.
“However, thanks to the phenomenal generosity shown by all of the specials this victim has not lost out.
“What makes this so extraordinary is the fact that all these officers are special constables, they are all volunteers who use their own personal time – and in this case they have rallied together to ensure this woman didn’t have any sleepless nights.”
To top it off, Crewe special constable Christopher Weston, who works at Sainsbury’s in Stoke, has organised for the victim to receive a free hamper.
Chief inspector Simon Meegan urged other potential victims to be on their guard against similar scams.
He said: “Over the past week we have received several reports of hoax phone calls from different companies – including hoax PPI and HMRC calls.
“No legitimate company would ever call you and ask you to pay something over the phone using vouchers, nor would any government organisations phone you to demand a payment.
“You should never be afraid to question and if you’re unsure then you should always speak a relative or friend or if in doubt contact the police.”
Anyone who believes they have been contacted fraudulently or have been a victim of fraud should call Cheshire police on 101 and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.