• Handpicked Harrogate

Warning of broken-down motorist scam

Police are advising motorists to be on their guard against a scam involving suspects who have been flagging down drivers claiming that their vehicle has broken down and that they need money.



Over the past two days we have received at least seven reports of motorists being stopped and approached by either a man driving a silver Volkswagen or a man driving a dark coloured Fiat.


The descriptions of the men range from Asian, Portuguese or Eastern European with reports received from the Scarborough area, the Ryedale area and the Harrogate area. However, it’s possible that the suspects could target any area.


In one incident on the A59 near Harrogate yesterday afternoon (29 July), two men in two separate laybys were seen trying to flag down motorists. One described as smartly dressed and Asian with a silver Passat with hazard lights on. The second described as European with a dark-coloured Fiat with hazard lights on.


A short time later a similar situation was reported on the A61 near Ripley involving a motorist described as Romanian in appearance who flagged down another car and was then joined by two other men who claimed they had broken down and needed money.


Similar reports followed later in the evening from the Scarborough area including Snainton, Reighton, Cayton and Cloughton, one in Kirbymoorside in Ryedale, followed by a report near East Ayton in the early hours of this morning.


In one instance the suspect wanted to take a motorist to a cash machine to withdraw money, and in others children have been seen inside the suspect vehicle.


Most motorists realised the incidents were suspicious and drove away without handing any money over.


We advise members of the public to be on their guard against anyone you see trying to flag down cars and please don’t give money to anyone at the side of the road.


If you have any information that about the incidents, please call us on 101. In an emergency call 999.