Seven people were arrested yesterday in connection with a series of telephone frauds targeting the vulnerable.

The five men and two women were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud when officers attended the addresses in north London.

More than 80 officers from Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Suffold, Cambridgeshire and the Metropolitan Police Service were involved in the searches of six addresses in the Camden area.

Six of the suspects, four men aged 18, 21 and two aged 22, and two women aged 20 and 21, are being questioned regarding frauds in Essex. 

A fifth man, aged 23, was also arrested and is currently being questioned at a London police station.

Numerous phones and computers have been seized.

Elderly or vulnerable people were being targeted by thieves, who posed as police officers or bank staff who told their victims that their bank accounts had been infiltrated by thieves.

Many victims live in Epping Forest.

The tricksters claimed that as part of their investigations they needed to do forensic tests of the victim’s bank cards and PIN numbers or large amounts of cash to be used for forensic tests.

More than 120 people in Essex have been tricked out of money and the total stolen is more than £400,000.

Detective Inspector Danny Lawrence who leads the ERSOU phone scam taskforce said: "Whilst we are continuing to make arrests, I would remind people to remain aware that phone scams are still operating across the region. As it does tend to be the elderly and vulnerable who are targeted by the offenders."

Please also remember that your bank and the police would:

• NEVER ask for your bank account details or PIN number over the phone.

• NEVER ask you to withdraw money and send it to them.

• NEVER ask you to send them your bank cards or any other personal property.”

If you are suspicious about a telephone conversation, police are advising people to end the call and contact officers via the non-emergency number, 101.