Loughton man thanks officers after ATM theft conviction
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Photo: Omar Naeem
An elderly man has thanked our officers following an investigation into four distraction thefts at a cash machine in Loughton.
The 69-year-old, from Loughton, thanked Loughton Town Centre Team officers following the conviction of Omar Naeem, 36, of Whitwell Road, Plaistow, at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday 7 April.
He received two years and two months in prison for two counts of attempted theft, four counts of theft, breach of bail and driving while disqualified. Naeem was disqualified from driving for two years.
The man, who wished not to be named, wrote to our officers after we investigated his report.
He said: “I want to thank Loughton Town Centre Team, particularly PCs Elton Borg and Warren Shepherd.
“From the outset, both officers responded with absolute determination and professionalism in supporting us in what was a really upsetting incident.
“PC Borg visited us and informed us that the perpetrator had been arrested and this was undoubtedly due to the perseverance of the officers and the support services behind them.
“My wife and I are aged 70 later this year and we worked very hard throughout our lives and I cannot express just how upsetting it is that there are people out there that feel entitled to take our money. It really makes you feel preyed upon.
“Once again, our enormous thanks to these two officers, they are a credit to the police service.”
Between 15 October 2019 and 17 December 2019, Naeem distracted two women and two men aged between 63 and 81 in order to withdraw their cash from an ATM outside Lloyds in Loughton.
On each occasion, he claimed that the machine and failed to withdraw his card and waved a piece of paper at the victims in order to distract them.
Naeem then used the ATM and withdraw cash totalling £2,000.
Loughton Town Centre Team officers set up an operation to locate and the arrest a man after receiving good CCTV images.
The offending followed a regular pattern and on 10 February, Naeem attempted to distract another victim at the cash machine but was unsuccessful and fled the scene in a vehicle.
We were already in the bank monitoring live CCTV and the vehicle was intercepted but failed to stop and was later found abandoned in Buckhurst Hill.
Naeem was located nearby and we recovered clothing that he wore in other offences. He was charged and remanded.
Sergeant Robert Fitt, who managed the Town Centre Team, said: “Naeem targeted elderly people who were innocently withdrawing their hard earned cash.
"He tricked them into believing the machine was faulty before confusing the victims and taking their money.
“Each victim has been very supportive and I would like to thank one of them for his kind words - it’s always nice to know people are happy and that we are making a difference.
"I’m pleased to say each victim received a refund and I’d like to thank Lloyds for their help in convicting Naeem, who clearly is a callous crook.”
Photo: PCs Elton Borg and Warren Shepherd with bank manager, Alan Jeyes
Alan Jeyes, Bank Manager at Lloyds Bank said: “Helping keep our customers’ money safe is a top priority and our branch colleagues are specially trained to spot suspicious or unusual activity to help prevent against fraud.
“We are pleased that in this case, with the help of the police, we were able identify the scam before more customers fell victim.”