POLICE today spoke frankly about a high-tech crime that has happened in Huddersfield and is reaping thieves £1m a week across the UK.
The cash they are stealing after plundering bank accounts is thought to be used for organised crime.
Detectives in West Yorkshire have got their hands on the latest high-technology equipment devised by thieves to scan people's cashpoint cards and film them tapping in their Pin numbers at bank money dispensers.
The device was seized recently in Brighouse - but the thieves have used similar equipment to target cash dispensers in Huddersfield before.
Targets have included the NatWest cash machine at the Asda supermarket one Saturday morning in June.
The Brighouse seizure shows just how technologically advanced the thieves now are - but potential victims can easily thwart them by simply covering the keypad with their hand when they tap their numbers in.
The scam involves thieves fitting digital technology to cashpoints, to film bank customers tapping in their Pin numbers.
This kit is used along with a device the thieves put inside the card slot, to scan the victim's card details as they make a withdrawal.
This device means the fraudsters have the information they need to clone the victim's card and then - armed with the victim's Pin number too - use it to drain the victim's bank account.
Over the last four months, four high-technology scanning devices or parts of them have been found at West Yorkshire cashpoints after being spotted by members of the public. This included the device at Asda.
Victims and their banks usually only realise what has happened after large amounts of cash go missing from accounts.
Det Sgt Charlie Mann, of West Yorkshire Police's Economic Crime Unit, said: "The key to stopping it is in the hands of cashpoint users - literally. Just put your hand over the hand tapping in the Pin number.
He added: "Nationally, this scam is estimated to cost the industry £1m a week. The money is believed to be ploughed back into organised crime, such as people smuggling."
Thieves used to put a sleeve into the cash dispenser slot, to prevent the victim's card being read by the machine. The dispenser would then keep asking the victim to key in their Pin code. One of the gang would be behind the victim and note their Pin number.
The victim would eventually give up, believing the machine had retained their card.
The fraudsters then removed the sleeve, with card still in it, and, using the Pin number, would steal money.
But the Brighouse device included a tiny digital camera lens and transmitter stuck across the top of the cashpoint and a scanning device fitted over the card slot.
This filmed customers tapping in Pin numbers. It transmitted to a video camera and receiver in the pannier of a bicycle locked to a nearby lamp- post.