Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Conned by a 'Mystic'

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Conned by a 'Mystic'

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Haworth

A conman pretended to be a West African mystic to extort thousands of pounds from a woman on Teesside.

Police are warning others to be on their guard against the growing trend of confidence tricksters exploiting traditional beliefs.

The targets of the criminals, police say, are often people originally from West Africa where traditional religions such as Voodun and Kindinki involve strong beliefs in the spirit world and the power of magic.

Police fear others could be vulnerable and are working closely with social services to tackle the problem.

PC Martin Cowen, said: "This is a national problem, which appears to be moving to our area.

"A person posing as a clairvoyant or medium sets themselves up in the community, advertising their services and claiming they can solve domestic problems or help you communicate with a deceased friend or relative.

"They target people who could be emotionally vulnerable because they're in grief or may have financial or family worries. …

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