An elderly Broxbourne man had £1250 taken from his bank account after a ‘Lebanese Loop’ was attached to a cash point in the town.
The 85-year-old had gone to the ATM outside Sainsbury’s in the High Road while out shopping with his son, St Albans crown court heard Friday 4th November 2016.
He tried to withdraw £100, but his card was “swallowed” by the machine, said Ms. Blackband prosecuting.
The pensioner went into the supermarket and was told they could not help. His son drove him to the Natwest Bank to cancel the card. On the way into the bank they passed a 41 year old Romanian man.
The Romanian man had already withdrawn £250 from a cash point and had taken another £1000 out on the bank card over the counter, said Ms Blackband. The Lebanese Loop device had been used to extract the man’s bank card and his PIN had been secretly recorded.
The police circulated the suspect’s photograph and he was recognised by a member of staff at Ladbroke’s in the town, where he was amongst a group of people who had regularly been betting £1000 a day.
When questioned, he made no comment. The prosecutor said the bank refunded the money to its elderly customer.
The defendant, who lives in Broxbourne, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to two charges of theft. He was in breach of a suspended 6 month sentence imposed in November last year by Central London magistrates for a similar offence.
Alex Britton, defending, said his client had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He said he would not have known that the victim of the Lebanese Loop would have been an elderly person. He said he was not acting alone and was part of a gang.
He said he came to the UK from Romania in 2015 to work as a handyman and painter and decorator and was sending back cash to his wife and daughter. He returned to Romania for 4 to 5 months, but came back to the UK about 6 months ago.
Mr Britton said the offence had taken place 10 months into the 12 months of the suspended sentence.
Recorder Patrick Fields told the defendant: “I accept you didn’t know your target would be an 85 year old man, but if you lay a callous trap like that, it is a matter of chance who steps into it.
“This court is aware of the devastating effect offences like this can cause.”
He jailed him for 42 weeks.
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