A fraudster who targeted Norfolk victims with a cruel scam using a series of fake identities has been jailed.

Kishan Bhatt, 28, would contact his victims by phone and trick them into believing their bank accounts had been accessed by crooks.

He would then convince them to invest in gold or jewellery to better protect their money from fraudsters, before persuading them to hand over the items for 'safe keeping'.

Detectives finally caught up with him following a lengthy investigation and manhunt that spanned across London, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

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In total, he targeted nine victims - aged between 29 and 90 - posing, at various times, as a police officer, a bank employee and a landlord, and defrauding them out of more than £26,000.

On several occasions, he would telephone his victims using one identity, then pretend to transfer the call to another person, also played by him.

Norfolk was a particular focus for his scams and he made other attempts which were thwarted by financial institutions or jewellers.

Eastern Daily Press: Kishan Bhatt was sentenced for his involvement in the fraud spreeKishan Bhatt was sentenced for his involvement in the fraud spree (Image: Metropolitan Police)

They were first tipped off about the scam in January 2022 when a jeweller became suspicious about a 90-year-old woman from Colchester who was driven to Hatton Gardens, in London, by two men - Bhatt, 28, and an accomplice Artiom Kiseliov, 35 - in an attempt to get her to buy gold. 

The jeweller asked for identification and told the woman to return another day while the checks were completed. The incident was reported to police.

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Officers later discovered that the victim had been driven to other jewellery stores and made further purchases which were later cancelled while the investigation got under way.

In total, she brought a number of watches worth more than £90,000 over a two-week period, which the fraudsters took off her.

Detectives were able to identify the vehicle Bhatt and Kiseliov used to transport their victim and using further evidence found in the car were able to find and arrest Kiseliov.

However, Bhatt remained at large and shifted his operation to Norfolk, where he targeted a number of further victims.

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Officers eventually arrested him at a hotel in Finsbury Park, London, in May 2022.

Bhatt, of no fixed address, was sentenced to eight years imprisonment at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Tuesday (July 25) after pleading guilty to nine counts of fraud by false representation.

Kiseliov, of Glenwood Road, Haringey was sentenced to four and a half years for one count of fraud by false representation in March last year.