THE number of cases of fraud in the South West has doubled in the last year, according to research by auditing firm KPMG.

The number of cases reaching court has doubled from 15 to 30 since 2017, which in real terms shows a staggering jump from £13.6 million in 2017 to £24.6 million in 2018.

Damian Byrne, Forensic Director at KPMG said: “The South West continues the trend of a rising number of alleged fraud cases coming to court.

"Whilst we are used to seeing businesses and financial institutions across the region under attack from fraudsters, we are now seeing large value scams being targeted at individuals, who need to be just as alert to fraud risks, and healthily sceptical about dealings involving cash or their personal data.”

There was also a significant jump in the amount of fraud cases being carried out by people over the age of 55.

There were no cases in 2017, there were 10 in 2018, including one involving an 83 year old man found guilty of falsely claiming almost £650,000 by submitting VAT returns for building supplies purchases