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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 March, 2005, 21:20 GMT
Charges brought over bank 'scam'
Police raid
Police raided more than 40 addresses in Strathclyde
Police have charged 30 people after nearly 2m was allegedly siphoned illegally from people's bank accounts and several financial institutions.

More than 200 Strathclyde Police officers were involved in raids at 42 addresses on Thursday morning.

Confidential personal banking security details are said to have been accessed, leading to identity theft, credit and loan requests and balance transfers.

The names of the institutions involved are not being made public.

The police investigation began several months ago, leading to evidence that confidential details had been used illegally, police said.

Police pledge

The head of Strathclyde CID, Detective Chief Superintendent Ruaraidh Nicolson, went on: "Almost 2m was obtained and many law-abiding members of the public saw money disappear from their bank accounts.

"These types of crime are not victimless and I can reassure financial institutions and their customers that Strathclyde Police is committed to targeting criminals who profit from this fraudulent activity."

Police said on Thursday evening that 30 people had been charged with alleged money laundering offences.

We are all victims when it comes to this type of activity
Det Ch Insp David Leitch

Detective Chief Inspector David Leitch, who led the operation, said: "Operations such as these require a great deal of planning and intelligence gathering," he said.

"This is the biggest operation of its kind undertaken by Strathclyde Police - more than 200 officers, including 60 detectives, were involved.

"A control room was established at Helen Street Police Office in Govan to oversee the operation."

Growing crime

He said controlled drugs had been seized during the raids, along with a "substantial" amount of cash.

Money is alleged to have been taken from the bank accounts of more than 100 people.

ID fraud is one of the UK's fastest-growing crimes, with criminals netting an estimated 1.3bn last year.

A survey of 975 people by Which? magazine has found that seven out of 10 favoured compulsory ID cards as a way to fight fraud.

Bank charges

Det Ch Insp Leitch said people could take "easy and cost-effective" steps to avoid becoming a victim of such crimes.

"Members of the public can have peace of mind by shredding their personal documents, thus avoiding the opportunity for their details to fall into the hands of criminals," he said.

He added that such crimes could lead to increased bank charges and interest rates.

"We are all victims when it comes to this type of activity," he said.


SEE ALSO:
One in four 'touched' by ID fraud
03 Mar 05 |  Business


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