North Yorkshire Police is urging motorists to be on their guard following a spate of roadside scams.
Over the past few days there have been numerous incidents reported in the Richmond, Harrogate and Selby areas.
The common theme is of passing motorists being flagged down by “Eastern European” men who claim their vehicle has run out of fuel or a tyre has been badly damaged.
They then ask for an emergency sum of cash in exchange for items of “gold” jewellery.
Concern about the suspicious activity has spread locally via social media. This has helped to increase awareness and led to further reports to the police.
In one case on the A1(T) near Skeeby, Richmond, which occurred at around 2pm on Friday (18 March 2016), police arrested two Bradford-based men who are originally from Romania. The 33 and 32-year-olds were released on conditional police bail following questioning. Their vehicle, a 52-reg Vauxhall Astra, was seized as part of the on-going fraud investigation.
However, the force received two reports on Sunday (20 March 2016) at around 1.55pm involving a grey 03-reg Renault Laguna parked in a lay-by on the A19 at Riccall, Selby.
Then at 8.05am today (Tuesday 22 March 2016), a further call was made to the Force Control Room about men standing next to a grey Renault Laguna who were attempting to flag motorists down on the southbound A1(M) near Cleasby, Richmond.
There have been other reports in the Harrogate area.
Inspector Mark Gee, of Richmond Police, said: “This suspicious behaviour is clearly a cause for concern among residents in Richmondshire, Harrogate and Selby in particular, but also across the county and beyond.
“While police enquiries continue to investigate the full circumstances of these incidents, we urge people to be extra vigilant and remain alert to such roadside scams.
“Also, please keep reporting suspicious activity to the police or Crimestoppers. We will do everything in our power to trace offenders and bring them before the court.”
Please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1, and speak to the Force Control Room.
Or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 55511 and quote reference number 12160048664.