CHILDREN as young as eight from an Oxford estate have been conning nearby residents in a fake sponsorship scam.

Police said children from Barton have moved in to target communities in Headington after their own neighbours had wised up to their cheeky tricks.

Armed with an amateurish looking A4 sheet, it is believed the children, aged between eight and 10, called on homes in the Headington area, claiming to be collecting money for a sponsored school swim.

In October, the Oxford Mail revealed how some Barton children had been profiteering off swings, climbing frames, and slides, in Bonny Banks playground in Bernwood Road.

They charged fellow park users a ‘£1 for a go’ on play equipment.

Sgt Jim Holmes said both issues had now been resolved through talks with the children’s families.

He said: “In March there were some incidents with children stopping people with false sponsorship forms to collect money from passers by on the London Road.

“We have sorted it out now.

“We have spoken with the families of the children concerned and are happy it has been resolved.”

It is not known exactly how much the children got away with, but Sgt Holmes said the amounts people had handed over had been minimal.

The forms have now been seized.

Sue Holden, secretary of the Barton Community Association, said she thought it was important that as many people as possible were told about the children’s scams so they would not be duped.

She said: “On the one hand it is just cheeky, but there is a more serious side to it.

“Some of those victims may have been elderly people, which is very sad.

“I think the more people that know about it the less chance there is of them being successful ion getting any money.”

Sgt Holmes added: “It is a good chance to remind residents to ask for identification from anyone claiming to be collecting money for charities.

“If you are approached or if somebody knocks on your door asking for sponsorship money please do not donate money, or check very carefully on the authenticity of identification and any charity they are collecting for.”

He urged people to call the neighbourhood team if they were unsure about anyone claiming to be from a charity.

The Barton Neighbourhood team can be reached via the main Thames Valley Police inquiry centre number, 08458 505505.