Police are appealing for information after a convicted fraudster has been targeting women at yacht clubs
Sussex Police have warned that a convicted fraudster may be using yacht clubs across the UK to find new targets.
Peter Berry, who was previously found guilty of 19 fraud offences, is believed to have claimed more victims since leaving prison in September 2012.
The 48-year-old is wanted for recall to prison after being accused of stealing tens of thousands of pounds from women after telling them that he’s a yachtsman or lifeboat crewman, and has achieved sailing records.
Having based a false persona around water sports, police suspect he may be joining yacht clubs or water sports teams to find new victims.
Detective constable Kev Reay said: “Berry befriends single women, often via dating sites and lures them in to steal from them.
“He tells them extravagant lies, saying he needs money to help friends trapped in the Himalayas, that he holds a world record in kayaking and that he worked on a lifeboat and was given a bravery award. None of those things are true.
“He makes a habit of joining yacht clubs or other watersports teams, possibly with a view to finding more victims. The likelihood is that he is still targeting women for money.”
Police now want to hear from anyone who has been in contact with Berry or has information on his whereabouts.
Before being sentenced to 63 months in prison in May 2010, Berry struck up relationships with women and then stole their identities to take out bank and car loans.
He also used his elderly mother’s identity to forge credit card and loan applications and racked up debts on her own cards.
Berry, who also uses the names John Keady, Jay Smith, James Smith, Dr James Smith and Taz Keady, was released from prison early on licence.
He was recalled to serve the remainder of his term in November 2013 after he was linked to two new fraud offences committed since leaving prison.
Berry tricked a 43-year-old woman from Swindon into lending him £20,000 for an investment before disappearing.
While a second women from Southampton was
persuaded to lend him £18,000 and a third gave him £15,000 to invest for her.
After leaving prison, Berry resided at
an address in East Preston but police have so far been unable to track him
Anyone with information should email email@example.com quoting
serial 1530 of 29/11, call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers
anonymously on 0800 555111.