A teenager has been charged after an elderly man was tricked into handing over £5,000.

Abu Syed, 18, of Nathanial Close in Whitechapel, is accused of fraud by false representation after the incident in Buckhurst Hill.

The teenager was arrested in east London by officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit’s phone scam taskforce, which is investigating hundreds of thefts and attempted thefts from elderly or vulnerable people.

Syed was arrested when officers executed a search warrant at his home in on Monday July 21.

He was also charged with possessing heroin with intent to supply and possessing crack cocaine with intent to supply.

He appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday July 22 and was remanded in custody to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court in August.

More than 780 thefts and attempted thefts have been reported in Essex since a phone scam first came to light in January 2013.

A gang calling vulnerable adults and posing as bank staff or the police has been targeting vulnerable adults, with many in Epping Forest.

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 asked people to remain vigilant and never hand bank details out over the phone.

"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 share the following advice with neighbours and relatives.

"If you are suspicious about a telephone conversation you should end the call and contact police via the non-emergency number, 101.

“Remember to use a mobile phone or a friend’s phone or wait at least five minutes before calling to ensure you aren’t reconnected to the offender.”