AN ALERT CCTV operator called police after seeing two men forcing pieces off the card slot on the cash points at Barclays.
Although of little or no value in themselves, they could have been used to make false fascias to capture the card details of people using other cash machines, a judge has heard.
Romanian national Romeo Petre was jailed for ten months after he pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to stealing the two apertures from the cash points outside the branch on North Street in Rugby town centre.
Judge Alan Parker recommended the 37-year-old, of Bishopgate Green in Coventry, should be deported after serving his sentence.
The court heard Petre and another man were caught on camera at 10.30pm on September 9.
When officers caught up with them they had one of the stolen card slot apertures on them while a search of the area uncovered the other one and a large chisel which had been used during the thefts.
Prosecutor Stefan Kolodynski said: “They have intrinsically little or no value, but the reason they are stolen forms part of organised crime.
“They are used in skimming machines and to construct false fronts for cash machines, the purpose being to obtain cash or other persons’ credit card details.”
Petre arrived in the UK in 2001 and has worked as a painter and decorator to send money home to his wife and three children in Romania, and they had no income during the four months he had spent in custody.
Jeremy Lynn, defending, added: “It is not uncommon for the fascia to be removed from the machine and then replaced with one capable of recording the details of people’s bank cards.
“That seems to be the most likely explanation for what was going on, but the defendant was not aware what the purpose was.
“He was a secondary party to what took place. He accepts he had driven the other man to the scene, and would have driven him away.”
Judge Parker told him: “The clear message needs to be sent that in the United Kingdom we are a welcoming and inclusive society, and people who come here from other parts of the world are welcome if they are here to work.”