Coke addict policeman gaoled for ATM raids in UK; ATM skimmers banged up in Oz

Coke addict policeman gaoled for ATM raids in UK; ATM skimmers banged up in Oz

A UK police officer who conducted a series of ATM raids in order to fund his £600-a-week cocaine habit has been gaoled for six years.

Jason Singh, 23, an officer with Northumbria police, led a gang who attacked ATMs with power tools in raids across the Tyne and Wear region.

The gang - which included Singh's brother Craig, 20, Mark MacDonald, 26, Shane Faife, 25, Justin Brown, 28, Joseph McDonald, 27, and Peter Chisholm, 27 - was caught after a number of attacks on ATMs in the Gateshead area from November 2005.

Newcastle crown court also heard how Singh used confidential data from a police computer to target a woman's £30,000 savings.

Singh reportedly turned to crime to feed his cocaine habit after being unable to cope with the pressures of his job.

The raids, which netted the gang £13,000, was thwarted by police in December 2005. Singh was arrested after an undercover investigation by Northumbria police.

All members of the gang pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and received prison sentences.

Meanwhile in Australia four members of an ATM card skimming gang have been gaoled for their part in the theft of A$1.6 million from the accounts of bank customers.

Bulgarian nationals Svilen Marinov and Gueorgui Dinkov were originally arrested in 2005 after they tried to retrieve skimming devices from targeted ATMs. They, along with Canadian nationals Christo Sotirov and Assen Dotchev have received sentences ranging between 16 and 22 months.

The New South Wales district court heard that the men were part of a Canadian-Bulgarian syndicate and did not organise the scheme but became involved because they had financial problems in Canada.

The men were to receive commissions of between 10% and 20% for their part in the scam, which involved attaching fake card readers and pinhole cameras to ATMs in order to skim cards and record PIN numbers. The data was then used to make clone cards which were used to withdraw money from the accounts.

As many as 500 bank accounts were accessed by the men and the court was told the group were responsible for stealing a total of $60,000. The men would often access the accounts around midnight and then shortly after in order to withdraw the maximum daily amount from accounts twice.

When police raided their flat in September 2005 they found more than $146,000 in cash, laptops, blank cards, card readers, skimming devices, digital cameras and other equipment.

All four pleaded guilty to fraud-related offences and will be deported upon their release from prison. Up to seven others who were involved in the scam are thought to have fled Australia.

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