Mark Leacock stole from vulnerable pensioners aged in their 70s and 80s, after tricking them into handing over bank cards and personal details.
At least five victims were scammed between October and November 2020, after receiving phone calls from a person claiming to represent a bank. They would be told their bank cards had been compromised and would need to be urgently replaced. After the caller obtained the account details, a short time later a ‘courier’ would attend the victim’s home address and collect the cards. These were then used to make cash withdrawals and fraudulent purchases.
During an investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate a suspicious vehicle was identified and on 4 November it was stopped by officers on the A21 near Pratt’s Bottom. Leacock, aged 52, of Starling Close, Croydon was at the wheel and arrested. Two passengers were also in the car and evidence including a mobile phone was seized, which contained details of one of the victims and a text relating to a purported fraud on his account.
At Maidstone Crown Court, Leacock pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud. Three further fraud related charges were ordered by the court to lie on file. On Tuesday 16 March 2021, he was sentenced to two years and nine months’ imprisonment. The two passengers in the car who were also arrested faced no charges in connection with the fraud offences.
Detective Constable Mark Newman of the Volume Fraud Team said: ‘Leacock was part of an organised crime group which repeatedly and callously targeted vulnerable and elderly people, to steal thousands of pounds. ‘Crimes like this can often have a devastating effect on victims. As well as the financial loss, they are often left emotionally scarred and can lose confidence and the ability to trust and socialise with other people. I would like to assure residents we have a dedicated fraud team working relentlessly to detect and bring to justice those who seek to target some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. We are also reminding people with elderly friends, relatives or neighbours, to continue to help us warn them of the risks of fraud.’