Wiltshire Police have stepped up their efforts to tackle unwitting residents being used as money mules for criminals.

This has involved police officers visiting the homes of people residing in Wiltshire towns as part of Operation Emma, a regional initiative across the south west.

A statement on Wiltshire Police’s official Facebook account said: “More than 40 people have been visited at homes from Tewksbury to Penzance and 119 warning letters issued as part of a regional operation to identify people who, often unwittingly, are acting as money mules for organised criminals.

“Being a money mule, which means allowing your bank account to be used by criminals to transfer the proceeds of their crimes while keeping a small cut for yourself, is a criminal offence. But often the people involved do not even realise they are committing a crime.

“Operation Emma, which ran throughout November, saw international law enforcement work together to pursue money mules and their recruiters and prevent people from offending. In the south west of England, the operation was led by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SWROCU) and supported by forces’ Fraud Protect Officers.

“The home visits carried out by SWROCU also led to three victims of romance fraud being identified who had all been recruited as money mules under the guise of false online relationships.”

You can find out more on the issue here.