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18 February 2011, 12:00
Detectives investigating the alleged use of card capture devices in Dorset are appealing for potential victims to come forward – with two men having been arrested and charged.
Since mid-January, police believe that two Co-op cash points in Corfe Mullen, along with six further locations throughout Bournemouth, Poole and East Dorset, may have been fitted with devices and hidden cameras.
The devices trap bank cards while the user’s Personal Identification Number (PIN) is recorded by the tiny camera. The trapped cards can then be used with the PIN to purchase goods and withdraw money.
Detective Sergeant Richard Philp, of Dorset Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said:
“As is the case whenever a credit or debit card becomes trapped in a cash machine it is important that people call their bank right away.
“However, because banks often protect people against fraudulent cash withdrawals it’s often the case that potential victims don’t report suspicious activity to the police.
“We understand that card capture devices may have been fitted to Co-op cash points along Wareham Road in Corfe Mullen, Station Road in West Moors, King John Avenue in Bear Cross, Columbia Road in Ensbury Park and Oakdale Road in Oakdale.
“Officers from the Economic Crime Unit are keen to hear from anyone who has had their bank card retained by the cash point machines at these locations and subsequently discovered fraudulent usage on their accounts in the last few weeks.”
Following a police operation two Northampton men, aged 24 and 28, were arrested in Corfe Mullen on Friday, 11 February 2011.
Both men were charged with a number of theft and fraud offences and appeared at Bournemouth magistrates on Monday, 14 February 2011.
They were remanded in custody and they will next appear before magistrates on Monday, 21 February 2011.
DS Philp continued:
“Incidents such as this are not common in Dorset, but I would advise members of the public to be vigilant when using cash machines.
“If anyone notices anything unusual about a cash point then they should immediately instruct the owners of the machine and call the police.
“Furthermore, cash machine users should always conceal the keypad when they enter their PIN.
“Aside from being advisable for general security, this will also ensure that even if you are one of the unlucky few that have their card fraudulently trapped, that the hidden camera won’t have captured your PIN.”
Anyone with any information should call Dorset Police in confidence on 01202 22 22 22 quoting incident number 17:186. Alternatively, call the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 where mobile phone tariffs may apply.