A ‘PROFESSIONAL’ fraudster who designed devices to steal data from credit and debit cards has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Alexandru Sovu, 39, of Prospect Road, was charged with conspiracy to make and supply articles for use in fraud, possession of criminal property, transferring criminal property and failing to supply a password, following a four-year investigation by British Transport Police officers.

Following a six-week trial at Blackfriars Crown Court, in London, during which he absconded and failed to turn up to court, Sovu was sentenced on Monday (12) to 11 years in prison.

The fraudulent activity which was led by Sovu saw a further six people sentenced last year to a total of 25 years in prison for building and distributing skimming devices to steal money from ticket machines and cash machines on London Underground and around the world.

One of his accomplices, Anca Fuioaga, 37, of Romford, was also sentenced on Monday to to two-and-a-half years for conspiracy to making and supplying articles for fraud and transferring criminal property.

The devices were designed to be plugged into any ticket or ATM machine in order to record the card details of machine users.

The gang gathered bank card data from cards used at banks, travel terminals, London Underground stations and petrol pumps, which they then sold on to criminal associates around the world.

Detective Constable Terry Botten said: “This was a long and protracted investigation into Sovu and the gang he ran.

“He is a professional criminal and he ran a organised network that was living off criminal proceeds stolen from people around the world. The reality is their activity can and does have a marked impact on private individuals and financial establishments.

“This has been a lengthy investigation to unpick the group’s set-up and identify those involved, and I am pleased that they have now been sentenced and will serve prison sentences for their crimes.”