M4 'stranded-driver conman takes cash from motorists'

M4 slip road at junction 15 Image copyright Google
Image caption The man often stands on slip roads leading to the M4, police said

A conman posing as a driver whose car had broken down on the M4 motorway has misled motorists to hand over hundreds of pounds, police said.

The "elaborate fraud" involves him flagging down drivers on slip roads, asking for a lift to a petrol station.

But, once in the car he claims highways authorities have told him it will cost hundreds of pounds to move his vehicle.

On at least eight occasions, this has prompted drivers to hand him cash that they never get back.

Wiltshire Police said a man, 44, was arrested on suspicion of fraud and bailed, but they want to hear other motorists whom might have been targeted.

A spokesman said the man involved is believed to have stood on various slip roads between junction 15 for Swindon and junction 19 for the M32 near Bristol.

He claims his vehicle has broken down elsewhere and asks motorists for a lift to the nearest service station, usually Leigh Delamere services near junction 17 or Membury services in Berkshire.

En-route he claims to take a call from the Highways Agency or the police and tells the driver he has been told it will cost £800 for his car to be moved.

Those who have given him a lift have then offered to help out towards the cost, the force said.

However, once they have dropped him at the services they never hear from him again.

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