Greater Manchester Police have released images of two men they would like to speak to after a private hire driver was swindled out of his life savings in what has been described as an “elaborate bogus jewellery con.”
The victim was approached while sitting in his vehicle outside the Holiday Inn Express hotel at Manchester Airport and asked if he would be interested in a job driving a church group around during an upcoming trip to the UK.
The PHV driver agreed to do the job and met up with the man three days later. At this point the man began to talk about a jewellery offer he may be interested in.
Two other men were introduced to the driver; one posing as a potential jewellery seller and the other as a potential buyer.
As part of the offer, the driver was told that he would receive £6,000 if he paid the deposit of £15,000 to release the “precious stones”.
The private hire driver agreed to the deal and drove to the Christie Gospital in Whithington at 2pm to meet the conman. The conman had told him that his father was being treated at the facility.
The conman then gave the victim some jewellery in exchange for the money and then left. Over an hour passed and the man still hadn’t returned, this is when the private hire driver realised the jewellery he had been given was worthless.
The police were then called. Set Sgt Alex Wild of Greater Manchester Police’s Tactical Operations Unit said: “This was a complex and unusual con involving three offenders.
“They went to great lengths for this to appear as a legitimate transaction involving valuable jewels.
“It’s easy to think that you’d never fall prey to such a scam - but these were organised criminals who went to great lengths to appear bona fide.
“They have thought nothing of conning a hardworking man out of his life savings and we believe they may have tried the same trick on others.
“This is an in-depth investigation that has involved forensic and covert evidence gathering, some of which can take months to complete.
“However, our most valuable source of information is the general public.
“If you have any information, please get in touch with police as soon as possible.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0161 856 0231 or Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111.