Two convicted of fake cash card plot

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(First Edition)

TWO MEN who set up a plot to make withdrawals from bank cash machines using hundreds of fake cards were yesterday convicted of conspiring to steal.

Southwark Crown Court was told that the scam involved using hi-tech machinery to encode details of accounts from till receipts onto the fake cards.

Laurence Alt, for the prosecution, told the court the men conspired to manufacture false cards to get money from banks and building societies out of cash machines. 'But police, who had them under observation, got them before they got any.'

John Currell, 26, of Sydenham, south London, and Clive Hamilton, 34, of Camberley, Surrey, both unemployed, were found guilty of conspiring to steal in July and August last year.

Three other men - computer consultants Mark Pruce, 32, of Chelmsford, Essex, and Andrew Stone, 28, of Fareham, Hampshire, and Steven Wheeler, 25, a plumber of Sydenham - were acquitted.

Mr Alt said that police found computer equipment, cards and an encoder when they raided Currell's flat in Sydenham. Sainsbury's Homebase and Total shopping cards were used and bank account details taken from a garage till roll were fed onto the metallic strips.

Mr Alt said police had watched the men after being tipped off by the company which sold them the encoder.

He said police watched the men use various cards in credit card phones as well as in cash machines at Barclays, Midland and Lloyds banks and building societies in the Beckenham and Bromley areas of south-east London.

They failed to get any money, however, and on two occasions Barclay auto-teller machines kept the cards.

Sentence was adjourned until 7 December.