Cus­tomer helps catch cash point scam­mers

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

THREE East­ern Euro­peans were ar­rested af­ter a “rather ob­ser­vant” lorry driver spot­ted that a su­per­mar­ket cash ma­chine had been tam­pered with, a court heard.

He found that the card slot was loose and re­moved it and took it into staff at Asda in Kim­ber­ley Road, Ash­ford.

It was then dis­cov­ered that a “skim­ming” de­vice and a cam­era had been fit­ted to two cash ma­chines.

Po­lice checked CCTV film and saw the three men act­ing sus­pi­ciously.

Now, An­drius Paskauskas, Khuril Rad­ulescu and Ro­man Strelchuk have each been jailed for two years af­ter ad­mit­ting be­ing in pos­ses­sion of ar­ti­cles for use in fraud.

Ian Foinette, pros­e­cut­ing, said the cus­tomer re­alised there was some­thing a lit­tle strange when he used the cash ma­chine on July 26.

He was forced to can­cel his card be­cause he feared it had been cloned, the pros­e­cu­tor told Maid­stone Crown Court this week.

Po­lice in­spected the CCTV footage and were able to ob­tain the regis­tra­tion num­ber of the BMW car Paskauskas, 30, Rad­ulescu, 29, and 24-year-old Strelchuk were us­ing.

It was lo­cated head­ing into Kent by au­to­matic num­ber plate read­ers at the Dart­ford cross­ing.

When ar­rested, var­i­ous skim­ming equip­ment was found in the car. There was also a credit card in a dif­fer­ent name from the three.

Mr Foinette said he had been un­able to find out their im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus. “It may be they are due to be de­tained un­der the Im­mi­gra­tion Act,” he added.

Martin Fox, for Strelchuk, said his client had ar­rived in the UK, aged 17, from Moldova in 2002 and was given leave to re­main un­til he was 18.

When it ex­pired, he lodged an ap­peal. “It is ei­ther in abeyance or no de­ci­sion has been reached,” said Mr Fox. “He has worked con­tin­u­ously in construction.”

Strelchuk lived with his girl­friend, a hair­dresser, and they hoped to get mar­ried.

Judge Jeremy Gold QC told Paskauskas, of Dept­ford, south east Lon­don, Rad­ulescu, of Al­res­ford, Es­sex, and Strelchuk, of Bark­ing, Es­sex: “All three of you were in­volved in preva­lent of­fences, all il­le­gally try­ing to get money from cash­point ma­chines.

“The courts have a duty to make it clear to peo­ple like you that such of­fend­ing will not be tol­er­ated.”

Pic­ture: Gary Browne PD1653773

Ash­min­ster House staff and res­i­dents with the Snow Queen Christ­mas cake

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