March 1 2015 Latest news:
Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
A man who admitted possessing a machine used for skimming a card machine at a Norwich bank has been jailed.
Ionut Chiontoiu, 25, appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday when he admitted possessing an article for use in fraud, namely a credit card skimmer.
He denied a second count of theft which was ordered to lie on file.
Sentencing Chiontoiu, a Romanian national, to 10 months in prison, Judge Nicholas Coleman said offences of this type were “all too prevalent”.
Judge Coleman also said that by admitting such an offence the defendant was not helping the reputation of his fellow countrymen “who live law abiding lives in this country”.
He said: “Anyone reading the papers recently will be well aware of offences of this sort and comments made about people from the country from where you come from.”
He added that the defendant’s plea to the offence resulted in a “reputation which is unhelpful to those of your fellow countrymen who live law abiding lives in this country.”
Martin Mulgrew, prosecuting, said on October 31 last year staff at Santander bank on St Stephen’s Street, Norwich, discovered that a skimming device - which is used to take information from cash cards put into the machine - had been fitted to a cash machine at the bank.
The defendant’s finger prints were found on the battery assembly part of the device and he was arrested at Heathrow Airport after returning to the UK from Singapore.
While it was not clear how many people had put cards into the machine while the skimming device was attached, Mr Mulgrew said the bank stated that no-one lost any money as a result of the device being fitted.
Rebecca Martin, for Chiontoiu, who the court heard has a previous conviction for a virtually identical offence, said her client “makes no excuse for his actions” adding that he was “involved in something he shouldn’t have been”.
Chiontoiu, of Chapman Crescent, Harrow, has been in the UK for about two years and had work as a labourer but “became involved with a man who suggested he might be able to make a lot more money”.