licence scam arrests

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Newcastle detectives yesterday arrested two conmen who have been operating a lucrative drivers' licence scam in nearly 10 towns in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

After receiving hundreds of complaints from victims who were conned out of between R1000 and R5000, police set up a trap and arrested the suspects. The men are due to appear in court shortly.

The suspects placed advertisements on street poles in different parts of the town advertising their services for different codes of drivers' licences.

Police spokesman, Shooz Magudulela, said desperate to get the licences, people fell prey to the scam and paid the money when ordered to do so. "The victims were required to SMS their details to the individuals as placed in the adverts.

"The men then phoned the victims asking them to deposit a certain amount of money into their account, ranging from R1000 to R5000.

"Once the money was received, the men set up appointments with the victims at various testing grounds - but they never pitched."

Magudulela said the suspects operated in the Dundee, Glencoe, Wasbank, Ladysmith, Dannhauser, Newcastle, Nqutu, and in towns as far afield as Pongola.

"We need people who have been conned to come forward and assist in our investigations."

Magudulela said one victim wanted to upgrade his licence from Code 10 to code 14.

"His employers deposited the money on his behalf, and when they found out that it was a scam they accused him of working with the culprits. He was fired."

Magudulela said detectives were desperate to make contact with all victims. "We urge anyone who can assist us with the case or who can identify the suspects to come forward."

Members of the public can contact the detectives on 034-314-6193.

·Meanwhile, police arrested two men for robbery in the city centre in Newcastle yesterday. The suspects followed a woman who was on her way to the bank.

"Police from Glencoe were driving in the area when they saw the men rob the woman. They stopped and gave chase and recovered the bag containing R42000 in cash," said Magudulela.