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15 October 2020

News and appeals

Van to raise awareness of knife crime dangers launches

A new initiative has been launched today (13 October) to help tackle knife crime and raise awareness of the dangers of knife possession.
Officers, with the aid of a specially-designed van, will be visiting local communities, including schools, high streets and supermarkets, across Sussex to engage, inform and educate about the serious risks of knife possession.
Members of the public will hear real-life stories of people whose lives have been impacted by knife crime and receive information and advice on where they can get help.

This forms part of a wider campaign to combat knife crime after Sussex Police secured additional funding from The Home Office's Serious Violence Fund for 2020/21.  Other tactics include targeted days of action, increased patrols, knife sweeps, test purchasing activities and a multi-agency awareness campaign.

Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: "Carrying a knife can change your life forever. 

"Not only does it put you and those around you at an increased risk of harm, but getting caught with one can result in serious personal and legal consequences.

"We want to help young people make the right choices by educating on the risks of knife possession and helping them get the support they need to live knife free."

Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “It is vitally important that real-life stories are shared with young people so they can understand the life-changing consequences this could have on them.
“I’m pleased to see Sussex Police being so proactive in their response to serious violence, putting early intervention methods in place to educate and protect our young people from getting caught up in criminality.
“The message is clear: lose the knife, not a life.”
Knife amnesty bins are available in police stations across Sussex- safely dispose of knives with no consequences and no questions asked. 
Sussex is a safe place to live, and we take any reports of knife crime seriously in Sussex so it continues to be.
If you're concerned or have information about knife crime, you can report online or via 101. In an emergency always dial 999.

Fraud warning after elderly couple lose £70,000 to Bitcoin scam

Police in Hastings and Rother are urging elderly people to be wary of fraud after a couple lost £70,000 to a scam.
Officers were contacted by an elderly man who had been offered the possibility of investing Bitcoins. Wanting to pay off his mortgage quicker, he decided to invest as the promised profit was a very significant amount.
The victim invested £50,000 made up of his own savings and a bank loan. He initially used his overdraft, however was advised by the company to invest more. The company told him his Bitcoin balance was 106,613 Euros.
When the victim contacted the company to withdraw the funds, he was told he would have to pay a tax charge first of around £18,000. The victim and his wife took out another loan to pay this, but the company then asked for a further £3,000 claiming there was an error and the previous amount hadn’t been correct.
The victim became suspicious and contacted police. In total, the man and his wife paid £70,000 to the company, which has been lost. Read more here.

Police campaign to raise awareness of modern slavery

Today, Sussex Police launches a two-week campaign to focus attention on our work with partner organisations to tackle modern slavery offences in our communities.
Chief Inspector Kris Ottery, operational lead for modern slavery said: “Modern slavery is a serious crime that is often hidden in plain sight. Perpetrators exploit people from all backgrounds and will target an individual’s particular vulnerability. That vulnerability could be an individual’s desire to seek a better life for themselves and their families or they could be homeless living on the streets. There is no one stereotype to neatly define a victim of modern slavery.
"Our best approach to protect people who are being exploited is to work with our communities and partner organisations. Police cannot act alone to eradicate modern slavery, it takes a number of agencies to work together to achieve this from gathering intelligence from the public, acting on it, safeguarding potential victims and getting a case to court. This process can take up to two years.
"Modern slavery cases are complex and often entwined with other serious offences such as drugs, knife crime and sexual exploitation. All of these crimes trade in human misery and exploit people for profit.
"We continue to build stronger links with our partners, voluntary organisations and businesses to establish working practices which are aligned to tackle modern slavery, stop it from happening and protect those exploited by it. Later this week we’re involved in a milestone event with local authorities, you can find out more on Friday, 16 October.” Read more here.

Fall for the person not the profile - romance fraud campaign launches today

Sussex and Surrey Police are taking part in a nationwide campaign, co-ordinated by City of London Police, to raise awareness of the devastating crime of romance fraud and provide clear and unambiguous protection advice to the public.

The multi-agency campaign will run throughout October following a national rise of 26 per cent in reports to Action Fraud in the last year. Sussex Police has received 195 reports from January to September 2020 - a 56 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2019. These frauds resulted in a total loss of £2,919,371 from 128 victims.
Romance fraud, or dating fraud, occurs when you think you’ve met the perfect partner online but they are using a fake profile to form a relationship with you. They gain your trust over a number of weeks or months and have you believe you are in a loving and caring relationship. However, the criminal’s end goal is only ever to get your money or personal information.

A 55-year-old woman from Billingshurst, West Sussex, who lost £20,000 to a romance fraudster said: "I thought I had found someone I could really connect with, who understood me, accepted my complex situation, had a beautiful romantic way with words, and showed insights into what I believed were shared experiences.  
"Money came into the conversations, and to begin with I was very cautious, having heard about such scams.  We all know never to click on links in unsolicited emails, give out bank details or personal information to people we don’t know or trust, and I didn’t think I could fall victim like I did.  But the level of detail was such, and the timeline related to real world events, and my questions and doubts all received realistic and plausible answers, that I sent money as requested, believing that it would benefit many people, my family included. 
"The turning point came when I showed his photo to a friend, and her friend explained that it had to be an old photo due to the uniform being worn at the time it was taken.  Then another friend asked if I had done a reverse image search, which I had never heard of, but brought up all the photos I’d been sent, along with messages that were very similar to some I had received, clearly scripted.
 "I reported my story to the Police, who have been very helpful and supportive.  It seems I am in the minority in that I believe this is a scam – many others sadly continue to believe their contact, having invested more time and money than I did, however bizarre their stories.  They assure me that although I feel stupid, these people are so highly skilled in manipulation and IT that many people just like me fall victim to them all the time.  As well as money I have lost self-confidence, struggle to hold myself together day by day, am forgetful, and can no longer trust my gut instincts." Read more here.


Help us keep Sussex safe

If you saw or heard anything, or have any information about any incident in this message please contact us online, email us at or call 101, quoting the reference number provided.

Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at


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Anna Habdas (Police, Prevention Support and Engagement Officer, Sussex)

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