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Number is up for loop gang

PUBLISHED: 14:23 01 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:02 11 August 2010

A SPATE of bank machine frauds was brought to an end after another Lebanese loop con artist was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Longbridge Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) launched an operation in February this year to catch crooks targeting Barclay s b

A SPATE of bank machine frauds was brought to an end after another "Lebanese loop" con artist was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

Longbridge Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) launched an operation in February this year to catch crooks targeting Barclay's bank machine in Faircross Parade, Barking.

And on Thursday August 14 the last of five fraudsters to be arrested by police during stakeouts was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Adrian Lupu, 26, of Market Street, East Ham, pleaded guilty to going equipped to steal and possessing an article with which to commit fraud.

The judge sentenced him to 15 months for each offence, to be served concurrently.

Lupu was arrested on February 10 by plain clothes officers who were watching Barclay's bank for fraudulent activity.

Sergeant Andy Larking, of Longbridge SNT, said: "Lupu was seen with another male putting a device on the ATM at Barclays in Faircross Parade.

"We saw him attach the device to the cash point and then leave.

"Then a man came along and used it and lost his card.

"Lupu came back alone and we tried to jump on him as he was taking the device off.

"He ran off and there was a short chase down Upney Lane where he was arrested. We also found a screwdriver on him and half of the device."

The device, known as a "Lebanese loop" retains the victim's bank card which is then retrieved by the fraudster.

A mobile phone placed in a fake plastic covering and attached to the bank machine, records the victim's PIN number using its camera.

Sgt Larkin said: "There are a lot of people out there who could do this; it doesn't require a lot of expertise.

"But I think this recent spate has made people more aware of the dangers.

"The main thing to remember is cover your PIN; if they don't get that they can't access your money."

The operation to catch these "Lebanese loop" fraudsters was mounted when police noticed a large number of offences at the Faircross Parade cash point.

Four other men were arrested as well as Lupu and all are now behind bars.

Sgt Larkin believes the Barclay's cash point was targeted because of its location away from the town centre.

He said: "We have had the odd isolated incident but since we nicked all these guys there have been very few.


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