POLICE are searching for a woman who conned elderly women in to handing over their bankcards.

The woman, seen in this CCTV image released by West Midlands police, has been successful in stealing thousands of pounds using the bank cards she convinced vulnerable women to hand over.

The woman, described as white, around 5ft 2in, of medium build with pale skin and dark brown shoulder length hair, targeted elderly women in the York and Harrogate area.

The con-woman was pictured at a travel agent in Solihull, West Midlands, where she tried to use a bank card she had taken from a 78-year-old Harrogate woman.  

Although she failed to buy Euros with the card, a total of about £6,600 has been taken from the victims account.

The woman successfully used the card in a jeweller's store and to withdraw cash from a Coventry bank.

The fraud is just one in a number of cases currently being investigated by North Yorkshire police.

Elderly residents in the York and Harrogate areas were targeted in late June and early July when they were tricked in to handing over their bank cards and PIN numbers to people claiming to be from their bank or a utility company.

The conmen called victims first before offering to send someone to their house to pick up their bank card. They told victim's that they had an unpaid bill or that fraud had occurred on their account.

The fraudsters have stolen thousands of pounds after withdrawing money from banks and travel agencies using the stolen bank cards.

Detective Sergeant Lydia Davenport of Harrogate CID, said: “These people are very plausible and charming when they contact the elderly people and it is easy to see how they can be convinced by what they are saying. In reality they are preying on elderly people’s vulnerability and trusting nature.

“We are determined to catch them and bring them to justice. I am therefore asking for the public’s help to identify them as we continue our investigations.”

Anyone who recognises the person in the image or has any information about the scams is as asked to contact Harrogate CID on 01423 539081.

Or you can pass information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Members of the public are advised to never, under any circumstances, give their bank account passwords or PIN numbers to anyone. Nor should they hand over their bank card to anyone other than a bank employee inside banking premises.