A sham gold trader who created a fake investment company and duped the elderly and vulnerable out of thousands of pounds has been jailed for two years.

Alan Taylor, of Garratt Lane in Tooting, claimed to run the fictional Mayfair-based gold investment company "European Gold Ventures Limited".

The 36 year old targeted older people across the UK, aggressively cold calling them and persuading them to part with their savings in exchange for promised huge returns.

After a year of trading he closed the company and relaunched it as "Simple Gold Investments Limited", purportedly based in Old Broad Street.

He advertised his business on websites and made high-quality brochures to make the scam seem more realistic. 

Police have so far identified seven victims between the ages of 55 and 73, who together were swindled out of £163,000 between 2011 and 2012.

But it is believed there could be more.

When police searched Taylor's home they found a list with hundreds of names, addresses, contact phone numbers and email addresses, along with a well-researched and persuasive script that he used when phoning his victims.

Officers would like to speak to people who have transferred money through europeangoldventures.com and simplegoldinvestments.com.

Taylor was sentenced to two years in jail at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday, September 10.

He pleaded guilty to eight counts of fraud on the first day of his trial.

After the sentencing, Detective Constable Luis Castanheira warned people to "be vigilant when considering investing in these sorts of schemes."

He said: "Given the current financial climate with low interest rates this type of fraud promising high returns is quite common."

Police advise people to walk away from suspected fraudsters. Cold callers can also be checked on the Financial Conduct Authority website.