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Monday, 14 July 2014

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Cash machine card skim pair jailed by Carlisle court

Two gang members who stole thousands of pounds using a skimming device across the north have been jailed.

The fraudsters emptied one woman’s account after her card was swallowed by the device at the Brampton Co-op. It was later used in Carlisle after her PIN number was recorded on camera, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Two of the travelling Romanian gang responsible for the scam are today behind bars after they admitted their part in the operation, which targeted cash machines in Cumbria and the north east.

The gang used their device to steal cards and record PIN numbers so they could then empty accounts, withdrawing cash and buying goods such as mobile phones.

Petricia Matei, 25, admitted possessing an article for use in a fraud – the skimming device - six thefts, using stolen cash cards and fraud by false representation.

His co-accused Constantin Enache, 22, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to commit fraud and possessing the skimming device with Matei.

Prosecutor Jacob Dyer described how the gang began their criminal enterprise in North Shields on February 23 this year.

A woman tried to use the town’s Co-op cash machine but found her card was retained.

The debit card was later used to withdraw cash and buy goods worth £624.

“At that stage, the offenders were not discovered,” said Mr Dyer. “In the meantime, on February 27, they travelled to Brampton.”

Once in the town, they again used the skimming device to capture a woman’s cash card, which was then used over the following two days to empty her bank account of £2,168. It was left overdrawn by £1,000, said the prosecutor.

The card was used in Brampton, Carlisle, and then in Nottingham, from where the men had travelled.

Two days later, the gang returned to the North Shields area, where they used the same device again but this time staff at the shop found the skimming device and the defendants, who were loitering nearby, ran off.

They were arrested a short time later as they sat in a nearby McDonald’s restaurant, said Mr Dyer.

In court, the defendants, both living at Beaconsfield Road, Nottingham, said that they had travelled north with a Romanian friend in the belief that they would be given legitimate work.

James McHugh, for Matei, said his client now accepted his actions had been wrong.

“He says that he personally made £600 from this scheme,” added the barrister.

Chris Toms, for Enache, said that his client had expressed remorse.

“He came to the UK four or five years ago and it’s only this year that he has lapsed into criminality,” said Mr Toms.

Matei, released from jail for a burglary sentence shortly before he joined the gang, was jailed for 16 months and Enache for a year.

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