Three arrested in joint operation aimed at tackling cyber crime and fraud – Rochdale

November 28

Three people have been arrested following a joint operation.

Three people have been arrested following a joint operation by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU), together with Greater Manchester Police, the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (Titan) and the National Crime Agency in Rochdale this morning (28/11).

The operation, which involved more than 30 officers and saw four warrants carried out across four addresses, is aimed at tackling cyber crime and the subsequent fraud offences that often follow.

Detective Inspector Rob Bryant from SEROCU’s Cyber Crime Unit which led the investigation, said: “Today’s day of action would not have been possible without the support from various agencies including Greater Manchester Police, Titan and the NCA.

“Today’s action is a result of months of investigative work into cyber crime and the fraud offence which often follow. This organised crime group had purchased people’s data off the dark web and were using it to commit large scale fraud. They would use the details they had obtained illegally to purchase large orders of goods such as car tyres, copper piping, paint and ride on mowers and have them delivered to discreet locations by innocent couriers, where they would go and collect them from.

“We often see companies which have their data stolen end up on the dark web and opportunist criminals look to benefit. I would like to take this opportunity to remind all businesses around their obligations to customers in protecting their data from cyber criminals.

“In this case, thanks to the multi-agency approach and help from our partners, we have managed to stop an organised crime which in 2018 had committed nearly 300 fraud offences at a cost of over a million pounds.”

Phil Larratt from the National Crime Agency said: “Following a UK data breach, a South East ROCU led investigation identified an organised crime group (OCG) responsible for using stolen payment card data to purchase over a million pounds worth of goods.

“The NCA will continue to work closely with our police colleagues to relentlessly pursue those responsible for both cyber dependent criminality and the subsequent incidents of fraud linked to the original data theft.

“Today’s action demonstrates that cyber criminality has no boundaries and UK law enforcement will continue to work together to disrupt this type of criminality”.  

Warrants were carried out at the following addresses simultaneously at 7am this morning in Rochdale:

  • Kensington Street
  • Lloyd Street
  • Clifford Street
  • Baron Street

Three men aged 25, 35 and 36 have been arrested on suspicion of Fraud by False Representation contrary to the Fraud Act 2006 and on suspicion of Section 327 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. They all remain in police custody.

Inspector Darren Callaghan from Greater Manchester Police, said: “We are pleased to offer support to SEROCU’s Cyber Crime Unit and the NCA to facilitate their investigation into this large scale fraud offence.

“Fraud is often seen as a victimless crime when financial institutions are targeted, on this occasion a number of small and medium sized businesses were resulting in severe financial difficulty for businesses who employ members of the community.

“Should members of the local community have information or concerns regarding fraud related offences or information to pass this can be done through contacting Action Fraud  at www.actionfraud.police.uk or 0300123 2040.”

The offences took place between 2014 and 2018 where stolen bank card details, obtained from the Dark Web, were used to place large and high value orders over the phone with small and medium sized companies. Goods were then collected via unsuspecting courier and taken to drop off locations in Rochdale. The couriers are met by a person and taken to another drop off location or the goods are transferred into another van.

Ends