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London police hunting man who defrauded elderly woman with fake COVID-19 vaccine

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CCTV image of a man wanted in connection with a fake COVID-19 vaccien scam in London.
CCTV image of a man wanted in connection with a fake COVID-19 vaccien scam in London.   -   Copyright  City of London Police
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Police in London are looking for a man who defrauded an elderly woman by injecting her with a fake COVID-19 vaccine.

Officers from the City of London police said the man visited the 92-year-old victim on December 30, claiming to have been sent by the National Health Service (NHS) to administer the vaccine.

The victim allowed the man into her home, was jabbed in the arm with what she described as a "dart-like implement" and gave him £160 after he said she would be reimbursed by the NHS.

He returned to her house on January 4 and asked for a further £100.

Police said in a statement that it is not known what substance he injected her with but that she had been checked over at her local hospital and has suffered no ill effects.

"This is a disgusting and totally unacceptable assault on a member of the public which won't be tolerated," Detective Inspector Kevin Ives said.

Police are now appealing for information about the man, described as white, in his early thirties, 5ft 9 inches in height, medium build and with combed-back light brown hair. He also has a London accent.

"It is crucial we catch him as soon as possible as not only is he defrauding individuals of money, he may endanger people's lives," Detective Inspector Kevin Ives also said.

The UK started its vaccination campaign in early December and has so far inoculated nearly 1.5 million people. It hopes to vaccinate 15 million people — healthcare and frontline workers as well as vulnerable people and those over the age of 75 — by mid-February.

The vaccine is entirely free of charge in the UK and is only available via the NHS. People may only be contacted by their GP, health care provider, employer, or local pharmacy to receive it.

Action Fraud, Britain's national fraud and cyber reporting centre, also flagged following the incident that "the NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine or ask for your bank account, card details, PIN or banking passwords."