A COURIER took part in a con which saw a fraudster pose as a police officer in order to convince five elderly victims to hand over thousands of pounds in cash, a court heard.

Vidunas Tutkus, 23, allegedly acted as part of a conspiracy to dupe elderly people out of their money by pressuring them into taking part in a bogus police investigation.

Lynne Shirley, prosecuting at Ipswich Crown Court, told a jury how the con would start with a telephone call to the victim.

A man claiming to be a detective would tell victims money had been stolen from their account.

He would pressure them into visiting their bank to withdraw substantial sums of cash, under strict instructions not to tell anyone about the investigation.

The victims were often told to keep their phone off the hook, or to stay on the line, while they took a taxi to their bank and withdrew the money.

Once they had returned home, the bogus detective would instruct them to read out serial numbers on some of the bank notes.

They would be told the cash had been deemed “forfeit,” and that a courier would arrive shortly to collect the money.

The jury were told Tutkus would then arrive on the victim’s doorstep, quoting an agreed-upon password before collecting the cash and, on occasion, bank cards.

Over the phone, the victims were assured the money would be returned once “the culprit” had been caught.

Miss Shirley said: “They were given a cover story about what to do and what to say when they went to the bank to take out these sums of cash.

“In essence, they were forbidden to speak to anyone about it.”

It is alleged Tutkus acted as a courier on five occasions.

One of the victims, who lives in Elmstead Market, withdrew £15,000 over the course of three days, handing over packages containing £5,000 on two occasions.

Tutkus does not deny visiting four of the victims’ addresses and collecting cash, but alleges he had no knowledge of the fraud and “didn’t ask questions.”

In police interview, he said he would receive a call asking if he would like a courier job.

A taxi would arrive and take him from London to the address in question, where he would pick up the package and take out his cut, which ranged from £200 to £600.

While he admitted to police he was suspicious about the nature of the jobs, he says he thought it was possible the money merely related to rent payments.

Miss Shirley said: “As someone, he says, who was simply a courier, it begs the question as to why he was placed in such a position of trust.

“It also begs the question why didn’t he raise the alarm?

“The crown suggests to raise the alarm would simply tip off the police as to what he was doing.”

Tutkus, of Malden Road, London, denies charges of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.

  • The trial continues