A conman stole £5,000 from an elderly woman after pretending to be a police officer.

Residents are being warned to be cautious with similar attempts to con people in the Hastings and St Leonards areas in recent weeks.

The elderly woman, of Wykeham Road, Hastings, received a phone call on August 1 from a man claiming to be a police officer in Essex.

He said criminals were preparing to move £2,500 from her bank account and said she should take the cash out of her bank immediately. He said a courier would pick the money up from her at her address.

The lady was told not to tell anyone as it would compromise an investigation and that the fraud office would open her another bank account.

She called a taxi to take her to the bank to get the money out. On her return she was met by a black man who took it from her.

Shortly after the lady received a second phone call from the same man instructing her to withdraw a further £2500. She again went to the bank and the money was taken off her.

Two further attempts were made by fraudsters the same afternoon to obtain money from residents, in Epsom Close and Gillsmans Park, St Leonards.

Fortunately both attempts were foiled.

Detective Sergeant Paul Graham said; "These fraudsters are abusing the trust that people have in real police officers to veil their true intention and use it to their advantage.

“I strongly advise anyone who receives an unexpected phone call of this nature to terminate the call, wait up to ten minutes to ensure that their phone line is completely disconnected as the scammer may have kept the line open, and to contact the police straight away.”

Call police on 101 or email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk quoting Operation Edisto.