UK

Jockeys urged to avoid High Street banks by PJA after frauds

Jockeys Image copyright Thinkstock

Jockeys in the UK have been advised to move their money out of High Street banks following a string of frauds.

The Professional Jockeys Association issued the warning after saying an estimated £200,000 had been stolen from about 30 jockeys since 2014.

The money had been withdrawn over the counter from cashiers, possibly using fraudulent documents, the body added.

West Midlands Police said a 38-year-old man was under investigation and inquiries were still ongoing.

The force is overseeing the investigation into the thefts.

The PJA said the crimes dated back to 2014, when about £50,000 was reportedly stolen from the bank accounts of several riders.

'Unwilling and incapable'

The body - which represents British jockeys - said there had been another spate of the crimes later that year, and that frauds had been committed "on and off" since then.

It said banks were "unwilling and incapable" of preventing the frauds.

It did not name any of the jockeys involved but said they included some high-profile riders and that some horseracing trainers have also fallen victim.

The advice has been backed by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the sport's governing body, it added.

PJA chief executive Paul Struthers told the BBC that in all the cases money - often starting at about £800 - had been withdrawn by someone walking into a branch of a High Street bank and managing to take out cash over the counter.

He said the frauds had been committed in most of the major banks - often a long way from the home of the jockey - and in a number of different locations.

Mr Struthers said the body was at a loss to understand how the fraudsters were managing to get the personal details of the jockeys.

He said he suspected details had been leaked "from somewhere", but did not know where.

He said jockeys had been given the stolen money back, but criticised the banks for failing to prevent the frauds in the first place.

'Perplexing'

As a result, the PJA's latest newsletter told jockeys the "only way to prevent the frauds from continuing is to move their current account banking off the High Street".

Mr Struthers said: "The question we are struggling to understand is how they know where each of the jockeys bank and how they are getting access to the account.

"That is what is perplexing us."

He added: "It has just got to the stage now where between us and the BHA we have realised that a combination of the incompetence or the unwillingness of the banks to deal with it means the only advice we can give jockeys is to get off the High Street."

Financial Fraud Action UK - which represents banks, credit, debit and charge card issuers - said it appeared those responsible may have used stolen or fake documents to take out money.

"The spate of crimes targeting jockeys suggests fraudsters may have gained access to data relating to these victims," a spokesman said.

He said it was important that "any organisations holding personal data take steps to ensure it is safeguarded", but said banks did have systems in place to prevent the use of fraudulent documents.

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