The jury has retired to consider its verdict in the trial of a gang of 'courier' fraudsters accused of targeting two Darlington pensioners.

Teesside Crown Court heard how scammers posing as Scotland Yard officers persuaded them in a series of phone calls to hand over thousands of pounds to couriers for the cash to be put into "safe" accounts.

Two Darlington pensioners are among the victims who withdrew thousands of pounds in cash before handing it over to couriers who called at their homes in the early hours of the morning.

heard how the men also bought Rolex watches for the suspected gang members with one of them losing more £120,000 to fraudsters in September 2020.

Read more: Woman accused of being part of 'courier fraud' gang claims she was conned into it

The victims were telephoned over a number of days by men claiming to be Fraud Squad officers from the Yard who told them that their bank accounts had been compromised, and to replace the receiver and to call 999.

But the scammers had kept the line open, and the victims were then in the hands of fake officers who told them to empty their bank accounts and hand the money over to police couriers for it to be deposited in new safe bank accounts.

The alleged fraud only came to an end when a building society manager became suspicious and police were able to arrest one of the couriers at the home of one of the Darlington victims.

Over the next few days in September 2020, more people were arrested in Coventry and London as officers gathered evidence of the location of mobile phones and vehicles connected to the suspects.

Awais Zaman, 21, and 26-year-old Arris Qumar, both from Coventry; Sheronica Davis Mitchell, 26, from Lewisham, London; and 25-year-old Mya Haskins from Rugby; have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to dishonestly make false representation to make gain for themselves.

The trial continues.

Read next: