FBI fraud team swoops on Welsh village

Nothing much happens, say the locals, in the tiny village of Clynderwen in Pembrokeshire (population 550 and falling). But all that changed this week when an FBI team swooped, at the end of a fraud investigation spanning three continents, to arrest two 18-year-olds.

The American detectives, backed by British officers, had expected to find a sophisticated gang of international fraudsters who had allegedly netted millions by hacking into credit card information from companies in the US, Canada, Thailand and Britain. Instead they discovered two teenagers sitting at a £700 home computer.

After an investigation lasting months, which also involved the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and investigators from the International Banking and Credit Card Industry, the FBI traced the hackers to Clynderwen.

A team of investigators flew to Britain and, working with Dyfed Powys police, set up surveillance at the village.

Following their arrest late on Thursday, the two teenagers were taken to Carmarthen for questioning and their computer was seized.

They were interviewed in the presence of their parents before being released on bail.

A detective working on the case said: "It is a major fraud across the major continents of the world. The boys' motivation may not have been money - more the challenge of pulling something like this off.

"We have taken a pile of stuff from their homes and it is being photographed at police headquarters."

Simon Fussell, landlord of the Iron Duke hotel in the village, said: "People living around here aren't switched on enough to know much about computers, so everyone is shocked.

"It's the last thing you would expect in a quiet ruralvillage like this."

Another villager said: "I'm amazed. I have an 18-year-old daughter and we know all the youngsters of her age. There are not many teenagers left in the village these days - this has come as a big surprise."

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