Police are warning residents over a "sudden, sharp" increase in fraud in Surrey over the last two weeks.

On Tuesday (June 16) a statement released by Surrey Police said that since June 1, they had documented 20 cases of "courier fraud" in the county.

This involves criminals seeking financial transactions from their targets by pretending to be bank or police employees.

"Police are reminding Surrey residents, especially the elderly, to stay on the alert for bogus phone calls and visitors after a sudden, sharp increase in courier fraud in the county," a spokesperson for the force said.

Police said that, of the 20 attempts that they had recorded, only six were successful.

However, those six frauds alone led to the loss of some £58,705, with the highest single loss believed to be £22,000.

All of the victims were aged over 60 and the majority over 75 (the oldest victim was 94 years old).

"Sixteen of the 20 victims targeted were female, with the vast majority living alone. In one unsuccessful case the victim’s husband had passed away just two weeks beforehand," Surrey Police described.

PC Bernadette Lawrie BEM, the Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer for the force, added further details to the latest wave of fraud-related crimes targeting vulnerable people in Surrey.

“This is a heart-breaking crime that preys on the most vulnerable in our communities and often targets a generation who believe in helping the police and who want to do the right thing," she said.

“It can leave victims feeling embarrassed, low in confidence and blaming themselves, which they absolutely mustn’t: the only people to blame are the immoral perpetrators of this crime.

"Remember - no police officer, or bank staff on the phone, will ever ask for your bank details, PIN or for cash.

"Don't give your details or cash to anyone in these circumstances. Hang up the phone straight away," Lawrie added.