Northern Ireland news

Man accused of being part of organised crime gang that targeted pensioners

District Judge Ted Magill said: "They are despicable offences."

AN elderly woman handed over £2,600 of pension money she saved during lockdown to fraudsters posing as police officers, a court heard yeserday.

Another 79-year-old victim allegedly left £2,500 in her garden after being told criminals were watching her home.

Details emerged as bail was refused to a man accused of being part of an organised crime gang which targeted dozens of pensioners.

District Judge Ted Magill said: "They are despicable offences."

John Delaney (44) of Hazel View in Belfast, was allegedly involved in defrauding two women in Belfast on May 7.

He denies two counts of fraud by pretending to be a policeman and two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.

Belfast Magistrates' Court was told the case is connected to a year-long probe into a series of scams against vulnerable people.

An Economic Crime Unit detective said there have been 320 incidents involving 36 victims.

She said £130,000 cash and £20,000 worth of jewellery has been lost.

A lawyer for Delaney stressed he only faces charges in connection with a "small percentage" of the wider suspected scams.

However, Mr Magill ruled that Delaney must remain in custody.

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