Drain scam gang target households in south-east England

Tens of thousands of pounds has been stolen from vulnerable people across Sussex by a gang offering to undertake essential drainage work.

Fifteen victims from areas including Lewes, Burgess Hill, Eastbourne and Brighton told police they had been pressured into handing over money.

A further six householders have been targeted in Surrey and seven in London.

A 69-year-old victim in Hollingdean, in Brighton, lost more than £100,000 after the fraudsters visited three times.

Equipment hire

Det Con Leon Ryan, of Sussex Police, said: "We do not know if it is one gang responsible or several gangs, but they all use the same tactics to get money.

"They target vulnerable members of the community and worry them by claiming drainage work needs doing in the area.

"They pressure them and ask for money to hire the necessary equipment."

But no work is carried out.

He said victims had been told their neighbours' homes could be damaged if they did not get the work done.

Anyone who thinks they might have been a victim is asked to contact Sussex Police.

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