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Gang with ‘blue lights’ posing as police are stopping cars in Redbridge, the Met warn

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:52 08 November 2018

Four men have been impersonating police officers. Picture: Ken Mears.

Four men have been impersonating police officers. Picture: Ken Mears.

Archant

A gang of men posing as police officers are driving around Redbridge with blue flashing lights and pulling cars over.

Police have sent out a warning to residents telling drivers to ask for ID if an officer stops them.

In an email, seen by the Recorder, Clementswood Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) said: “There is a black VW Golf currently driving in the Redbridge borough with blue lights and impersonating police officers.

“Four males are stopping vehicles and asking drivers for ID – when asked for their own ID, they drive off.

“If you are stopped by anyone or if anyone knocks at your door, you should ask for their ID.”

The SNT advised residents to keep their car doors or house windows closed while you check their ID.

If they are genuine they will be “happy to wait” while you check with their employer.

“If you think there is anything suspicious, please do not hesitate to contact us,” it read.

A resident, who does not want to be named, said he is pleased the police are letting residents know, but he thinks all wards should have been informed, not just Clementswood.

“These men are in a car and can drive anywhere in the borough or even beyond,” he said.

“While it is great that one ward has been told - and credit should be given - other areas should also be informed.”

The resident also said with long call waits, there should be a separate phone line for checking ID.

“It is not the police’s fault, all the people on the frontline are trying to hold things together, but when there is incident, it can take ages to get through to them on the phone and the quickest way is just to do it online,” he added.

“From personal experience, I have had to wait hours when my house got burgled and I know my neighbours and friends have had similar problems.

“It would be great if there was a separate line - it could be automated - or even an app where you type name and number into it to verify the officer.

“Otherwise you could be locked in your car waiting for hours for a response and if it is a genuine officer it wastes time for them and me.”

Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the East Ilford Betterment Partnership, said:“It is very alarming that men mascarading as police officers are viewing people’s personal identification - this could lead to identity fraud, could be a ruse to clone credit cards, or could suggest a gang are seeking out an individual.

“It may even be a ruse to clone electronic keys through proximity and use of sophisticated equipment.

“My advice to people would be to remain on guard and vigilant for other vulnerable people too - joining a local Neighbourhood Watch or community Whatsapp group would be a good way to foil crimes of this nature as communities can protect one another.

“Any suspicious activity should be reported to the police using either the 101 or the 999 service depending on the nature of the observation.

“I am grateful for the information provided by Clementswood SNT as alerts like this ensure innocent people are made aware of the dangers surounding them.”

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