A FRAUDSTER has been jailed in connection with a series of courier frauds targeting the elderly across Essex.

Mohamed Koita, 22, of Clandon Road, Ilford, received 16-month concurrent sentences for five counts of fraud by false representation at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday after he admitted the offences.

Police investigated courier frauds in Tillingham, Little Baddow, Chelmsford, Springfield and Galleywood between December 26 and January 16.

Victims aged in their 80s were contacted by a man claiming to be a bank manager.

They were told that their bank cards were no longer valid and that their cards could be collected and replaced that day.

They were collected by Koita who posed as a man called Harry. He arrived at the addresses within 15 to 30 minutes.

On three occasions he gave the victims an envelope containing the alleged new cards, which were in fact cancelled bank cards or gift cards.

He managed to leave with bank cards and PIN numbers before withdrawing cash.

Essex Police arrested Koita in Chelmsford on January 3 after stopping a vehicle.

Inside the car were eight bank cards, two envelopes, six gift cards, two phones and a card reader.

Investigating officer Det Conc Ross Thompson, from the Volume Fraud Team, said: “Koita carried out these callous crimes during the festive holiday period and preyed on the victims’ trust and vulnerability.

Each person was called by a man posing as a bank manager and it didn’t take long for us to work out there was a similar theme.

“On three occasions, bank cards in good working order were swapped for inactive bank cards or gift cards.

“The victims were also convinced to give over the PIN details, meaning Koita was able to withdraw cash.

“He thought he was clever but on two occasions he was unsuccessful, with the relatives of one woman challenging him before taking a photograph of his car.

“Koita will now spend time locked in prison for his cowardly actions.

"I would remind people to never hand out their bank details over the phone despite how convincing the caller may sound."