FVS is vital part of police team in courier fraud case

Leading forensic imagery specialists, FVS, has joined forces with Warwickshire Police and provided key evidence to help convict eight men who conned residents in Warwickshire and Staffordshire out of more than £31,000.

The men, all from Birmingham, carried out the so-called ‘courier’ fraud, in which they telephoned people and claimed to be police investigating fraudulent use of bankcards.

They asked victims to telephone their bank and enter a PIN into the keypad. But, unbeknown to the victims, the line had been kept open by the bogus officer and they were put through to a member of a criminal gang who claimed to be customer services.

A man posing as a courier then collected the bank cards from the victims, which were said to be required as evidence by the bogus officer. The cards were subsequently used at cash machines to withdraw money. A total of 81 offences were carried out.

FVS was brought in by Warwickshire Police to help crack the case, and they worked closely with the investigation team. Using CCTV footage which showed people using the stolen bank cards, FVS helped to identify the suspects, employing several techniques to compare faces, bodies, shoes and clothing.

“Facial Mapping enabled us to make an incredibly accurate comparison and analysis of the subjects’ facial features,” said FVS director Bill Platts. “In addition, we used contextual information to identify the suspects. This means the way they walk, their stance, their overall body shape, the way they hold their head, or how they gesture in conversation. We were also able to examine height and build through body mapping and photogrammetry.

“Providing accurate CCTV analysis was particularly important in this case because victims are often asked to identify suspects at an ID parade. This can be very upsetting and stressful for them. Many of the victims of this crime were elderly, so our ability to clearly identify the suspects meant the ID parade wasn’t necessary, and therefore victims were spared the trauma.”

Bill Platts added: “The evidence we provided also significantly reduced the length of the trial and secured an early conviction; it was set for six weeks but it finished in just three weeks. This saved everyone involved a great deal of time, and of course the expense of a longer trial.

“In most crimes of this nature, the first thing the CPS does at the start of a case is to ask if CCTV footage is available, so accurate assessment is invaluable in bringing proceedings to an accurate and quick resolution.”

All eight men were convicted, receiving a total of 12 years in prison.