A warning has been issued over fraudulent calls and emails, claiming to be from Cleveland Police, which have been received by some local businesses.

Officers are warning people to be vigilant after reports were received of someone fraudulently claiming to be from Cleveland Police.

The warning has been issued on behalf of the North-East Regional Specialist Operations Unit (NERSOU) who deal with such crimes, after several incidents in recent weeks.

A Cleveland Police spokesman said: “Phishing emails or phone calls have been targeting businesses in the North East area claiming to be from an officer from Cleveland Police, in an attempt to fraudulently obtain services.

“The force has been made aware of three incidents of this nature over the last month and are warning members of the public to be vigilant to prevent people from being scammed.”

They added all Cleveland Police email addresses end in ‘Cleveland.pnn.police.uk’ or ‘Cleveland.police.uk’ and any email from an officer within the force would end the same way.

If residents have been contacted by someone claiming to be from the force and are unsure over anything, police advise residents to take the name of the caller and call 101 and ask to speak to that person via an operator.

The latest police warning over potential scams comes after they raised concerns in March over criminals using coronavirus fears to con the public.

Detective Chief Superintendent Alastair Simpson, head of NERSOU, said scams included bogus texts demanding fines from people for leaving their homes and selling facemasks which never arrive or are of poor quality or fake.

He also warned of scams telling web users their device is ‘infected’ and asking them to call a phone number for help.

Another scam text asks people to share personal details, while rogue traders are offering anti-bacterial spray for private and commercial driveways.

Earlier this month council chiefs in Hartlepool warned of similar scam phishing emails posing as official communication about coronavirus-related support grants for businesses.

Bearing a ‘GOV.UK’ heading and the title ‘Covid-19 Government Business Grants’, the phishing email claims to be from the ‘Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer)’ of the local council.

The email says the recipient has been awarded the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant and asks them to click on a link.

For more information about scams visit Action Fraud – the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre – at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.