Four men are due to appear in court in connection with a telephone fraud that has conned elderly Essex residents out of nearly half a million pounds.
All four have been charged with conspiracy to defraud by false representation between March and July this year.
They were arrested in central London early on Wednesday following an investigation by the Eastern Regional Special Operations Unit, which was specially set up to combat the scam.
More than 80 officers from Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and the Metropolitan Police Service were involved in the searches of addresses in London.
Mohammed Miah, 21, of Coopers Lane, Kings Cross, Salam Uddin 18, of Hemingway Close, Gospel Oak, Muhammad Ahmed, 22, also of Hemingway Close, Gospel Oak and Motahir Rahman 23 of Kiln Place, Kentish Town were all charged at an Essex police station on Thursday night. They were detained in custody to appear at Hatfield Remand Court in Hertfordshire today, Friday July 11.
A 22-year-old man from Camden, who was also arrested in connection with the investigation, has been reported for conspiracy to defraud by false representation and will appear in court at a later date.
Two women aged 20 and 21 who were also arrested at address in Camden on Wednesday, have been bailed until August 27 pending further enquiries.
Police investigations are continuing into widespread frauds and attempted frauds in which elderly and vulnerable people are being contacted by thieves posing as police officers or bank officials.
Victims are told that their bank accounts have been infiltrated by thieves and they are advised to hand over bank cards, PIN numbers or large amounts of cash as part of the investigation.
More than 780 similar thefts and attempted thefts have been reported in Essex since the scam first came to light in January 2013, and similar crimes have been reported in the Met Police area and other counties. More than 120 people in Essex have been tricked out of money and the total stolen is more than £400,000.
DI Danny Lawrence who leads the ERSOU phone scam taskforce said: "The latest arrests show how we are continuing to make the region a hostile place for anyone suspected of being involved in phone scams, which often target elderly and vulnerable people.
"We are continuing to gather information to make further arrests but at the same time we would urge people to remain vigilant and be on their guard against this sort of crime.
"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.