Police launch hunt for fake traffic officer pulling over Somerset drivers
A police investigation has been launched to try to discover the identity of a convincing bogus cop who is pulling people over for speeding in the Crewkerne, Chard and Ilminster areas.
The man drives a dark blue or purple BMW 5 Series Estate which has been kitted out with authentic-looking blue flashing lights.
There have been two confirmed incidents where he has stopped people, but police say there could be several more incidents which have gone unreported because people do not realise the man is a fake.
Sergeant Rich Barnett, safer neighbourhood police sergeant for Crewkerne, Chard and Ilminster, said: “There have been a couple of confirmed incidents, including one where a lone woman was stopped, but there does not appear to be anything sinister about this.
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“The guy just talked to her about how fast she was going. It’s possible that it could be someone with a grudge about speeding in the local area.
“Nevertheless, impersonating an officer is a crime and we are actively investigating.”
The fake policeman is described as a white male, around six feet tall, in his thirties with dark hair. At the time of the stops he was wearing a white shirt with black trousers and a black tie.
Members of the public who have come forward to report him did not see a radio and he did not wear a traditional white traffic flat cap.
Sgt Barnett said: “We are advising people to be wary, but at the same time you shouldn’t fail to stop and possibly end up causing a police chase.
“Always try to pull over in a public place and ask for identification. Don’t be afraid to call 101 or 999 if you suspect the person might not be an officer.
“If you are not in a public place, keep the door locked and wind the window down a little bit to talk to them.
“It is rather frustrating for us because this sort of thing affects trust and undermines the confidence between the public and the police.”
The incidents have taken place in Ilminster and on the A358.
A spokesman for the Ask The Police advice service said: “An unmarked police car can stop vehicles but it must contain a constable who must be in uniform. If a car flashing for you to pull over or stop is unmarked, unless you are 100 per cent certain it is the police, do not stop. Drive steadily to the nearest public place and then stop.
“If you are in a relatively deserted area, as a last resort, consider looking for a house that is obviously occupied and pull into the driveway.
“Try and signal that you have acknowledged the request to stop and indicate the action you are taking. Don’t drive off at great speed making the police think you are trying to get away.
“Keep the doors locked until you are happy it is the police. Have your mobile at hand just in case. You can ask to see a warrant card, which should carry a name and photograph, through the closed window.”