WILTSHIRE Police officers arrested five suspected fraudsters after vulnerable people in the county received phone calls from scammers.

A gang had been targeting victims by calling them, pretending that they were the police and asking for help investigating fraud in banks or other organisations.

The callers tried to trick victims into withdrawing money or buying expensive items and handing them to a courier, who was actually another criminal that came to the victim's home.

Officers from Wiltshire Police's complex fraud team and specialist support units travelled to London on Wednesday as part of Project Optimise, designed to tackle serious and organised criminality.

The force worked closely with the Metropolitan Police Service to execute a warrant in central London and arrest five men on suspicion of fraud by false representation and money laundering.

They found evidence of a sophisticated and organised scheme that preyed on a large number of victims, and being run as a business enterprise.

The arrested men were later released under investigation while police enquiries continue.

Anyone with information of courier frauds or other organised criminality is urged call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Detective Superintendent Steve Kirby said: “This is a great example of different police forces and teams coming together to robustly disrupt organised crime. It is something that we take incredibly seriously, and we will do everything possible to ensure that criminals preying on vulnerable members of our society are stopped promptly and held to account.”

Complex fraud team manager Alison Wiles said: “I would like to reiterate that neither the police nor your bank will ever ask you to assist an investigation by withdrawing or transferring your own money or purchasing high value items.

“If such requests are made, I would urge you to hang up straight away and contact the police. I would also ask that you speak to your friends or family to make them aware of this type of crime.”