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Pickpocket gang went on ‘national tour’ in quest for bank card victims
9:35am Friday 13th July 2012 in News
A MAN in his 60s from York was among victims after thieves posing as businessmen stole credit cards across the country.
Blackfriars Crown Court heard a 62-year-old man known only as Mr Watts found he had been pickpocketed and his bank card used to withdraw £400 from Santander Bank in York last November.
The court heard James Wood, 56, Jason Alder, 46, and Andrew Jenner, 55, donned smart suits to blend in with their surroundings at restaurants, bars and cafés in Brighton, Bristol and Manchester and other locations.
Two diners in Bath lost more than £15,000 in one day. The thieves are also thought to have operated in Scarborough but no victims came forward.
Robert Hutchinson, prosecuting said: “They went to decent pubs, bars and restaurants and identified victims, always men about their sort of age, and pickpocket them, but in a clever way, taking their wallet and very often putting it back so the victim would not even realise he had been the victim of theft.
“They went on a tour of Britain, all over the country, north, south, east and west.”
The trio were caught red-handed in Manchester in December by plain clothes detectives following a nationwide appeal.
The court heard Wood and Alder were convicted of identical frauds at the Old Bailey in January. Judge Daniel Worsley jailed Wood for four years and Alder for three and a half.
Craig Harris, for Wood, said the trio “got very lucky” when they managed to swindle the cash. Jenner’s sentence was adjourned until August 29 for fr psychiatric reports, after the court heard he suffers from bi-polar disorder and depression.
Judge Worsley said a custodial sentence was likely.
Wood, of Bower Road, Hextable, Kent; Alder, of Gravelwood Close, Chislehurst, Kent, and Jenner, of Archer Road, Orpington, Kent, all admitted conspiracy to steal and fraud by false representation.