A man from London has been giving an eight month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after he was involved in a phone scam which targeted an elderly woman from Bushey.

On Friday 39-year-old Salek Miah, of Wager Street, was also told to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay the victim £250 by St Albans Crown Court.

The scam saw a woman in her 80s being targeted by a man claiming to be a police officer. He stated he was investigating fraudulent activity on her bank account. He told her money had been taken from her account and he would help her recover it.

The man then instructed her to withdraw thousands of pounds and said he would arrange a courier to collect the money. This was arranged to be collected on November 22 last year.

The woman became suspicious and raised the alarm, which allowed Hertfordshire Constabulary officers to act. Miah arrived at the woman’s address to collect the package but he was met by officers who then arrested him.

In court Miah said he had been recruited by others to collect the package and take it to London where he would then be paid. The court was also told he had earlier collected another substantial amount of money from another elderly woman in Slough.

The elderly woman will be invited to receive a commendation at the crown court at an awards ceremony later this year to celebrate her intervention.

Detective Inspector Jason Keane said: "I hope this sends a clear message to anyone who considers becoming involved in any way with phone scams. The victims of this crime are often elderly and vulnerable and rightly this was taken into consideration by the court.

"The victim in this instance was incredibly brave and I’d like to thank her for the actions she took to assist us in catching Miah. Victims of this crime should be assured that we will help them and our approach to those involved with this type of crime will not waiver.

"We are continuing to make arrests. However, people still need to remain alert to this scam and follow our advice. 

"People should be suspicious about unexpected calls and, if they’re concerned about who they are talking to, they should end the call and contact the police via the non-emergency number 101. Please remember to use a mobile phone or wait until you hear the dialling tone before calling as the other caller may not have cleared the line and you may be reconnected to them."