Man who stole Islington Tube passengers’ credit card details is jailed

Petru Cercel

Petru Cercel - Credit: Archant

A man who stole Tube passengers’ bank card details by using skimming devices on ticket machines has been jailed.

A man who stole Tube passengers’ bank card details by using skimming devices on ticket machines has been jailed.

Petru Cercel, 34, was handed a 16 month term after he was spotted using the contraptions at Highbury and Islington station.

On April 10 a plain clothes British Transport Police (BTP) officer found a skimming device – used to read bank card details – on a ticket machine at the station on Highbury Corner.

He covertly monitored the machine and saw Cercel walk in to the booking hall and approach the machine several times.

Officers tried to arrest him, but he ran off – getting away with part of the device.

He was eventually tracked down in Birmingham and arrested on July 17.

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Pc Mark Pink, the investigating officer, said: “The prison sentence handed down to Petru Cercel shows just how seriously card fraud is treated by BTP and the courts.

“We’ve discovered and removed a number of these devices at various stations and I’d urge members of the public to be aware of these scams and take care when using cash points.

“Skimming devices can be difficult to spot as they are designed to look like part of the machine. In this case, a green card reader was placed over the original reader to record passengers’ card details, while a pinhole camera was fitted above the keypad to capture the victim’s PIN number.

“Cercel operated within an unknown group and although he didn’t fit the devices, he was the person who returned during the day to remove them.”

Pc Pink added that to help prevent fraud people should check cash and ticket machines for anything unusual and always shield there PIN when people are loitering near machines.

Cercel, of Cape Hill, Birmingham, was at sentenced Blackfriars Crown Court on August 15 after earlier pleading guilty to five counts of possessing an article for use in fraud.

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