DRIVERS who have pulled over and offered to help a stranded motorist on the M4 have been conned out of hundreds of pounds in an elaborate scam.
Police are investigating reports of the fraud along the M4 corridor and have already tracked eight victims down, but are keen to hear from any other people who may have been targeted.
Good Samaritans who stopped for a lone man posing as a stranded motorist have fallen victim to the scam.
The man carries a green fuel can and is believed to stand on various slip roads between junction 19 of the M4 at the junction with the M32 and junction 15’s A419 Swindon turnoff.
Claiming his vehicle has broken down elsewhere due to running out of fuel he asks motorists for a lift to the nearest service station, primarily Leigh Delemere or Membury.
En route he claims to take a call from the Highways Agency or police who require his car to be moved at a cost of around £800. Those giving him a lift have then offered to help out towards the cost. Once dropped at the services they never hear from him again.
To date it is believed the offender has been able to acquire hundreds of pounds from victims.
A police spokesman said detectives believe there could be many more victims, with the money taken stretching into the thousands of pounds.
He said: “It is still early stages of the investigation and to date we have identified at least eight victims. “People have been tricked into handing over considerable amounts of money, totalling into the hundreds at the moment.
“We believe there could be many more and the amount of money lost could be a lot higher, maybe into the thousands.
“This is a new type of scam, certainly not one we have heard of before and officers are keen to hear from anyone who may have been targeted in similar circumstances or who has any information about these incidents.”
A 44-year-old man from Bristol has been arrested in connection with these incidents and has been released on police bail pending further inquiries.
People with information are asked to contact Detective Sergeant Chris Feerick at the Local Crime Team in Melksham on 101. Alternatively people can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.