Jail after cash machine scam

Three Romanians who travelled from London to Norfolk to carry out a cash machine scam were caught red-handed after a sharp-eyed member of the public called police after he became suspicious, a court heard.

Stelian Bodnariu, 22, Daniel Draghici, 43, and Loan Dimitrescu, 32, tampered with a cash machine at the Co-op store in Costessey, and managed to take a customer's card and pin number, Norwich Crown Court heard.

However William Carter, prosecuting, said that a member of the public who had seen the three men acting suspiciously phoned police and they were arrested before they had time to withdraw any cash.

Mr Carter said that when arrested they were found to have a list of cash machines in the area and had earlier managed to take out �250 using stolen card details from a cash machine at Long Stratton.

The three men from London all admitted possession of articles for use in fraud. Bodnariu and Draghici were jailed for 14 months and Dimitrescu for 15 months.

Sentencing them, Judge Alasdair Darroch told them: 'This is becoming more widespread and it has to be stopped. When people's cards are taken it can cause enormous inconvenience and people are alarmed that their property is taken in this way and their details are obtained in this way.

'It seems there can be no legitimate reason for your journey up here. I think the proper conclusion is that you were going to go on doing this until you were caught.'

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He also ordered that �250 cash found on the men should be paid as compensation to the bank.

Philip Farr, for Bodnariu, said that the scam was not sophisticated and there was no evidence of any lavish lifestyle. He said he had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

Cathy McCulloch, for Dimitrescu, said that he was remorseful for what he had done: 'He does not intend to do anything like this again.'

Michael Clare, for Draghici, said the scam was not skilfully planned. He said that Draghici had come to Britain in 2005 and worked as a chef.