A SUSPECTED con-artist has been imitating an Essex Police officer to try and scam residents out of cash.

The woman has made at least three calls saying she is based at Basildon police station and her name is ‘Sarah’. Two of the calls were made to people in Hockley who both suspected ‘Sarah’ was a trickster and quickly ended the calls.

A man in Cambridgeshire was also targeted and told by Sarah she was based in Essex and wanted to call round to search his home as part of an investigation. He then ended the conversation and called Essex Police.

All three calls were made on Wednesday.

Insp Mark Rayner at Basildon said: "Fortunately all the people who received the calls hung up and contacted us.

"But we are concerned there might have been other people who fell for the story and might have let a stranger or strangers into their homes.

"We urge everyone to be vigilant if they are called by anyone claiming to be a police officer wanting to do a house search.

"If you do receive a call, hang up but try dialling 1471 to get the caller’s number, make a note of the conversation then call 101 to report the incident to Essex Police. If someone calls you then turns up at your doorstep dial 999 immediately.”

Police enquiries are continuing into the calls but they are not being linked to a series of telephone frauds by bogus police officers who tricked their victims into handing over bank cards or large amounts of cash.