Bank card fraudsters fall for police trap at King’s Cross Tube station

Andreea Petrovan

Andreea Petrovan - Credit: Archant

A pair of would-be bank card fraudsters who were snared after covert police officers staked out a Tube station ticket machine have been jailed.

Mihail Tache

Mihail Tache - Credit: Archant

Mihail Tache, 36, and Andreea Petrovan, 23, fitted hi-tech card-copying gadgets to a terminal at King’s Cross St Pancras, including a tiny pin-hole camera designed to capture PIN numbers, on Monday, August 4.

But eagle-eyed officers spotted the camera and a “skimming” device affixed to the card slot – which copies the electronic chip on bank cards – during a routine inspection the same day.

They decided to leave the contraptions in place and watch the machine. About four hours later, Tache and Petrovan, both of no fixed abode, walked into the trap when they returned to collect the devices and were promptly arrested.

Pc Mark Pink, from British Transport Police’s organised and financial crime unit, said: “Tache and Petrovan placed a tiny pin-hole camera above the machine’s keypad to record customers as they entered their PIN.

“They then placed a duplicate card-reader over the top of the credit card slot to ‘skim’ the card’s electronic chip.

“This two-part device would have given them all the information they needed to copy cards and fraudulently use them.

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“When I found a device on the ticket machine, I left it in place in order to catch those responsible, while plain clothes officers carried out covert surveillance.

“It paid off, because barely four hours later, Tache and Petrovan returned and removed the device.

“Our officers moved in and arrested the pair – the ‘skimmer’ was found in Tache’s bag, along with a knife used to remove it.”

It later emerged the duo had been filmed attaching the device on the station’s CCTV cameras.

Tache received a 28-month sentence and Petrovan was jailed for 16 months at a sentencing at Blackfriars Crown Court, after both pleaded guilty to possessing articles for use in fraud.

In sentencing, Judge John Hillen said: “Thanks to the good work of British Transport Police, further crimes have been prevented.”

Pc Pink added: “Remember to always shield your PIN and do not use a machine if it appears damaged or tampered with – instead report it to the police as soon as possible.”