POLICE investigating reports of a phone scam, which has led to one person aged in their 80s handing over substantial sums of money, are appealing for information.

Officers are also warning residents in Devon to be vigilant of the scam, in which the caller is pretending to be a police officer.

Detectives say they have had an increased number of calls about this scam over the past few weeks – particularly in the South Devon area.

In one case, the victim was persuaded to hand over more than £25,000.

It has been reported that the male caller pretends to be a police officer from a force in London. He tells the victim they have someone in custody who has cloned bank cards belonging to them. The bogus officer then requests that the elderly person transfers money to the police until the suspect is dealt with and they will then be reimbursed.

Detective Inspector Daniel Parkinson said: 'We are advising anyone who receives such a call not to give any personal information and hang up straight away.

'We will never contact people to ask that they transfer money from an account to aid an investigation or request banking information.

'If anyone does this get this type of request, it is a scam.'

He added: 'Fraudsters often target geographical areas where they know elderly or vulnerable people live, so we are asking that if you have family or friends who are vulnerable in any way, that you make them aware of this warning.'

If you have any information that could help the police with their enquiries, or know someone who has received a call of this nature, contact police via our website here or by calling 101 quoting reference number 50230192850.

Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling freephone 0800 555111.

Police advice on receiving a scam call of this nature is to terminate the call, wait five minutes and ensure you can hear a dial tone before calling 101. Then call your bank using the number found on the back of your card.

All reports of this nature also need to be reported to Action Fraud 0300 123 2040 or online https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/