A gang who stole £500,000 using phone calls from fake police officers has been jailed for a total of 24 years.

Seven people from London and Surrey laundered money stolen by ‘vishing’, or ‘voice phishing’ fraud, and were sentenced on Friday, September 15, after their July trial at the Old Bailey.

In 2014 and 2015, four victims from Blackpool, Durham, Dorset and Fareham were phoned and told their accounts had been targeted by criminals, and were told to transfer the money to ‘police accounts’ or give cash to ‘police couriers’ at the doorstep.

When the victims called 999 to check, their calls were intercepted and someone pretending to be a police officer backed up the story.

One person lost his life savings of £288,000.

Robert Hutchinson, London CPS reviewing lawyer, said: “These individuals were part of a sophisticated network distributing and dissipating money stolen from ‘vishing’ victims. They were a trusted part of the scam and allowed large sums of money to move through their accounts to ensure that there would be profit from the fraud.

“These verdicts and early guilty pleas follow a strong case involving careful analysis of bank accounts and text messages between defendants. The CPS will now continue with steps to recover the criminal assets of these individuals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.”

Neil Newbury, 60, of Debden Close, Kingston, was sentenced to six years in prison.

Shah Hussain-Ali, 45, of St John’s Place, Tower Hamlets, was sentenced to four years in prison.

Moinul Hossain, 41, of Nigel Road, Forest Gate, Newham, was sentenced to four years in prison.

Peter Kawuma, 25, of Elmley Street, Greenwich, was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

David Page, 60, of Tower Place, Warlingham, was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Swahelin Chowdhury, 39, of Howell Court, Clyne Place, was sentenced to 12 months in prison.

Monir Hussain, 25, of Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, was sentenced to eight months in prison.