A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of a series of frauds which saw people hand over thousands of pounds to someone they thought was a police officer.

Several reports were received in June of a man claiming to be a Metropolitan Police officer contacting vulnerable people in Brighton and convincing them to hand over large amounts of cash, under the guise of assisting an investigation.

Extensive house-to-house enquiries and trawls of CCTV identified a suspect and a vehicle linked to them was stopped and searched by neighbourhood police officers on June 28.

Around £10,000 cash was found, along with a number of items believed to be connected to the reported offences.

The 21-year-old, from Wokingham, was arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation and driving a vehicle without insurance. He has been released on conditional bail while enquiries continue.

Police believe there are likely to be more victims connected to the investigation and ask that anybody who believes they or somebody they know has been a victim to report it to police online or via 101, quoting Operation Signature.

PC Bernadette Lawrie said: “Police officers will never ask you for any money, your bank card or your PIN number.

“All of our officers have warrant cards and badge numbers and if in doubt our officers would never have an issue with you calling the police to verify their identity. If you seemed unsure, they would actively encourage you to do so.

“Remember that if you’re a victim of a scam or an attempted scam, however minor, there may be other people in a similar position.

“Your information may form part of a larger jigsaw that is vital to completing the picture.”

Sussex Police also said that officers would not contact someone out of the blue, ask someone to participate in an investigation that requires them to withdraw money from the bank, or to purchase high value goods such as jewellery or gold.