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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 August, 2004, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Card fraud unit nets 36,000 cards
Credit card being swiped
UK card fraud losses amounted to 402m in 2003
The UK's dedicated credit card fraud squad has recovered 36,000 cards and card details in its first two years.

The Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU) also made 171 arrests, as part of its two-year pilot.

The Unit - which targets the organised gangs responsible for most UK card frauds - made 171 arrests, leading to 52 convictions.

Around 400m was lost to card fraud in 2003. Banks said they would now give 3m a year to keep the unit operating.

The DCPU said it has focused on scams carried out by counterfeiting gangs who often run sophisticated factory-style operations.

It said its work had helped combat more serious criminal activity such as the trade in drugs, illegal immigrants and counterfeit goods - often funded by card fraud profits.

The Unit, which opened in April 2004, is a partnership between the police and the banks.

It is staffed by officers seconded from the City of London and Metropolitan Police forces, while banking intelligence and administrative support is supplied by the banking industry.

Detective Chief Inspector Tony Thomas, from the City of London Police, who heads up the Unit, said: "With more staff joining us in the near future I have no doubt that our track record of beating these criminals will not only be maintained but will be significantly improved."

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