Cash conman may prey on travellers
Stranded rail and air passengers have been warned to beware of a smooth-talking confidence trickster wanted for allegedly conning dozens of travellers out of money with sob stories.
Police believe Neil Rodgers, 41, may be looking to take advantage of the recent travel disruption to prey on passengers with his bogus hard luck tales.
Rodgers, who also uses the names Sean Wells, Neil Roberts, Danny Wells and Daniel Thomas, is suspected of duping people at airports and railway stations for the past two years.
He usually sidles up to travellers, pretends to have run out of money and claims that he must get home for a variety of heart-wrenching reasons, police said.
The most recent known crime took place at Gatwick airport in May when it is believed he posed as a respectable businessman having just returned from Dubai.
He obtained £100 from an unsuspecting member of the public, made his excuses and left, a spokesman for Sussex Police said.
"Police believe he has been active at transport hubs over the past two years, and could have been taking advantage of the recent travel disruption to prey on the extra numbers of stranded passengers," the spokesman added.
He said that the force wants to question Rodgers about seven frauds, including the one in May, reported at Gatwick in the past two years. British Transport Police also want to speak to him about 12 similar offences.
Sussex Police said his favourite method is to ensure he is overheard apparently talking to someone on his mobile phone about how he cannot get home because his credit cards have been cancelled and he cannot obtain a ticket.
He sometimes states that he has spent all his cash on Duty Free, then starts a polite conversation with a traveller who is either sitting next to him or is standing outside having a cigarette, police said.