Specials Constables restore faith in community spirit Date published: 8th May 2017 10.47am

Kind-hearted Specials from across Cheshire have joined together to raise more than £1,400 for a woman who lost her life savings to a heartless fraudster.

On Tuesday 25 April officers were contacted by an 88-year-old Northwich woman who had fallen victim to a PPI Scam.

The woman had received a call from a man who told her that she was owed £9,000 in PPI payments and in order to receive the payments all she had to do was provide him with £1,000 worth of iTunes vouchers.

Believing that she was due a substantial pay out, the victim visited a Northwich supermarket and emptied her bank account in order to purchase the vouchers. Later that day, after passing the details of the vouchers to the fraudster, the victim visited Northwich police station to check that everything was above board – only to discover that she had been deceived out of all her savings.

After speaking to the victim, and hearing about the profound impact the incident had on her, the helpdesk supervisor at Northwich station, who is also a Special Chief Inspector based in Chester, felt compelled to support the victim in any way possible. She decided to email colleagues from the Special Constabulary to ask for ideas on what they could do.

Within three hours of sending the email the Special Chief Inspector had from emails from Special Constables across the force pledging more than £1,400 to reimburse the victim of the money that she had lost.

Celvyn Jones, Chief Officer of Cheshire Special Constabulary said; “I’m immensely proud of the Special Chief Inspector who set the wheels in motion and I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of my team.

“This was a sad case of a vulnerable woman who had been deceived of her life savings by a coldhearted 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, thanks to the compassion and kindheartedness shown by my team, 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.”

As well as reimbursing the victim of the money that she has lost, Christopher Weston, a Crewe Special Constable who works at the Stoke-on-Trent branch of Sainsbury’s supermarket, has organised for the victim to receive a free hamper.

Northwich Chief Inspector Simon Meegan said: “It 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.

“It’s humbling to see the way the whole Special Constabulary have come together to support this victim in such a positive way and it’s clear to me that this money will make a real difference to her and without it she would have been left in an extremely difficult situation.

“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 to help keep Cheshire safe on a daily basis – and in this case they have all gone the extra mile and rallied together to ensure this woman didn’t have any sleepless nights.”

Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane said: “This story demonstrates the outstanding work that the Special Constabulary undertakes on a daily basis, and proves what a real asset they are to the Constabulary.

“I would to thank all of the Special constables who have helped to support this vulnerable victim, in particular I would like to acknowledge the work of the Special Chief Inspector who initiated the idea.”

Chief Inspector Simon Meegan added: “Following this incident I want to issue a warning to other potential victims.

“Over the past week we have received several reports from local residents who have received hoax phone calls from a variety of different companies – these have included 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.

“My message is simple, 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.