OFFICERS are urging residents in West Somerset to be vigilant for a financial scam.

Two people were contacted in Minehead on Tuesday (May 13) by a man claiming to be a police officer from the Metropolitan Police.

He said he was investigating fraud and asked the individuals to send large sums of money which needed to be checked as part of the investigation.

Three other incidents have taken place in the district, with more than £40,000 demanded.

Many of the victims across the Avon and Somerset force area, mainly vulnerable elderly people, have been targeted and some duped into withdrawing cash.

Victims are contacted by telephone and convinced to withdraw cash then asked to send it to London or via a courier.

The culprit claims the money is evidence for n investigation.

Another scam involves someone claiming to be a police officer from London who has arrested two people carrying bank cards with details of the victim.

Barrie Douglas of Avon and Somerset Police's Serious Crime Group said: “The police and the banks will never ask you for banking details or PIN numbers on the phone.

“Similarly, they would never send a so-called 'courier' to collect bank cards or money.”

“In two recent incidents the victims did the right thing when they became suspicious of callers by hanging up the phone and called the police.

“They waited until they could hear a dialling tone or used a different phone to call us, ensuring that the scammers weren't still connected to the line.

“The more we talk about this scam and the more people who are made aware of it, the less likely that they are to become victims.

“We are also appealing to taxi owners to be vigilant if asked to courier small packages to London for elderly people. “

We would also urge bank employees to be aware of elderly people drawing large sums of money from their accounts and offer guidance and advice.”