The public are being warned after a number of people have been coerced into handing over £100,000 in cash in return for a winning lottery ticket.
Victims have been approached in the street by one or two people who claim that they have won the lottery but are unable to claim the winnings as they require a passport or another form of identification.
The victims are then asked for money in return for the winning lottery ticket. In some cases the victims are elderly or vulnerable and as much as £50,000 in cash and jewellery has been handed over to the suspects.
So far seven incidents have occurred at various locations in Leicester including Trevino Drive, Melton Road, Windsor Avenue, Narborough Road, Belgrave Road, Totland Road and Edward Avenue in the last six months.
There are also reports of victims being approached by people asking for directions and while they are distracted bank cards and other items have been stolen.
The police believe others may have been approached in similar circumstances but may not have agreed to help the suspects.
They would like to speak to anyone who has information about these incidents or may have been approached by someone either claiming to have won the lottery or looking for directions.
Detective Constable Catherine Thompson is investigating the incidents, she said:
“These callous criminals have preyed on vulnerable people. From the reports we’ve received so far we estimate more than £100,000 in cash has been coerced from the victims.
We would urge the public to remain vigilant, if you have been a victim of similar fraud and haven’t yet spoken with the police please come forward and report the incident to us, you may be able to provide vital information which could take our enquiries forward.”
Anyone with any information about the incidents is asked to contact Leicestershire Police on 101, quoting crime number 220722.