Drug dealer fraudster jailed for two years after fake police officer scam

A drug dealer who conspired to scam a pensioner out of more than £8,000 has been jailed for two years.

Shrewsbury Crown Court
Shrewsbury Crown Court

Abdulaziz Guthmy, aged 27, admitted taking part in a fraud conspiracy that involved criminals pretending to be police officers to rob unsuspecting householders of thousands of pounds.

When he was arrested in Shropshire officers discovered a 500g block of heroin of 54 per cent purity with a sale value of to £24,750 plus £11,000 cash inside the BMW he was driving.

He initially denied conspiracy to commit fraud and denied possessing diamorphine with intent to supply in Shrewsbury on October 30 last year. But he changed to guilty pleas ahead of a trial in May on the basis that he acted under the direction of others and was at the bottom of a criminal chain.

Miss Caroline Harris, prosecuting barrister, told the town's crown court: "This is clearly a sophisticated offence."

"The facts are that on October 30 last year a 73-year-old became the victim of a fraud. She received a phone call from someone purporting to be from the police in London. They told her that a fraud was being committed by someone using her surname and her Barclay card details and that someone at the branch was involved."

But the court heard that the victim's husband became suspicious and took his wife to the branch while keeping the caller on the line. He placed them on loud speaker and the caller was overheard telling the victim to say the money was needed to buy a car.

The bank staff handed over the cash and a leaflet to warn the couple they were most likely fraud victims and contacted the real police.

Miss Harris said the caller even asked the victim to read out some of the serial numbers and told her some of the bank notes were fake.

"At about 6.35pm he went to the victim's address wearing a hi-vis jacket. He was filmed on nearby CCTV arriving. The police were waiting at the address and arrested him on arrival," she said.

Mr Paul Smith, defending barrister, said Guthmy had a "peripheral" role would be sent to collect money by more senior members of the conspiracy and that he felt fearful for his family's safety if he failed to comply.

"The tenancy of the basis of plea was something that was given great consideration by the crown which makes this an unusual case," Mr Smith said.

Guthmy, who had previous convictions, also pleaded guilty to driving without a licence and driving without insurance.

Judge Anthony Lowe said: "In my judgement these offences are too serious to suspend the term. I don't see why this isn't going to happen again."

Guthmy, of Islington, London, was jailed for 21 months for the drugs offences and three months for the fraud, to be served consecutively, making a total term of two years. He must serve half the term before being released on licence with conditions.

An offence of possessing criminal property relating to the cash in the car was allowed to lie on file.

The also court heard that proceeds of crime procedures will follow in the civil courts and that the BMW did not belong to the defendant.

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