Jewellery and large sums of money were stolen from elderly victims during a spate of fraud instances across Reading and Wokingham.

Two men have today (February 20) been arrested in connection with the incidents, which took place between January 18 and February 4.

The frauds were committed by a person claiming to be detective constable Tony Moore, a bogus name, from Hammersmith Police.

The offender contacted the victims by telephone and advised that they had become part of a fraud investigation.

The victims were instructed to place their jewellery, bank cards and PIN numbers into an envelope which was later collected by a courier.

The offender then asked the victims to call 999 for verification, but the offender did not hang up, meaning the telephone line was left open.

When the victim called they spoke to a woman, another offender, who verified the false officer name and shoulder number.

After handing over the items, the victims were told that detective constable Emma Pimms, another false name, would be in contact with them.

The bank cards were later used to fraudulently purchase goods in the Reading area.

A 25-year-old man from Reading was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and money laundering, and another man, 32, from Reading was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, money laundering and conspiracy to kidnap.

Both men remain in police custody at this time.

Investigating officer, detective sergeant Alistair Marman, said: "Following an investigation, I can confirm that two arrests have been made in connection with a fraud series targeting elderly residents in Wokingham and Reading.

"Local residents can help to reduce the risk of becoming a victim by following this crime prevention advice: the police will never arrange for a courier to collect valuables from you.

"If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a police officer and asking you to send valuable items in this way, you should hang up immediately and contact Thames Valley Police on 101.

"Do not call any other number given to you.

"When making this call it is important to use a different phone to the one that you have been contacted on.

"If no other phone is available, you should wait at least five minutes to ensure the phone line has cleared before making the phone call.

"To verify the identity of any police officer, you should ask for their name and shoulder number and then call 101 to speak with the relevant police force.

"Always make this call from a different telephone, or wait at least five minutes for the line to clear.

"I would also encourage anyone with elderly or vulnerable family, friends and neighbours to make them aware of this type of fraud."

More advice about how to protect yourself against fraud is available on the Thames Valley Police website at: