Belfast Telegraph

1,500 Danske Bank customers took out £1.6m in unauthorised withdrawals - Belfast man given year's probation

Some customers had repaid approximately £273K
Some customers had repaid approximately £273K

By Michael Donnolly

A 38-year-old Danske Bank customer, just one of over 1500 who withdrew over £1.6m in unauthorised ATM withdrawals in September 2017, was put on a year's probation after agreeing to complete 60 hours community service.

Judge Patricia Smyth told Paul Cameron, from Collinbridge Manor, Newtownabbey, his thefts of over £11,000 were "greedy opportunistic offences".

The Crown Court judge said what he and others did was not a victimless crime as other bank customers will end up paying, and no one should have the idea that they can rob their bank because of technical problems.

While Judge Smyth also told Cameron he would get credit for his admissions, as it saved the system both time and money, his completion of community service would allow him, "to pay something back to the community that you have harmed".

Prosecutor Natalie Pinkerton said while some customers had repaid approximately £273K, the Danish bank still faces a loss of £1.3m, due to the 24-hour technical fault, originating in Denmark, but which lead to the malfunction with ATM's in Northern Ireland.

Ms Pinkerton said that Cameron told police that after realising what was happening after spotting "large crowds" surrounding every cash machine he passed, "saw the opportunity to get himself 'out of a hole' , " even though "he knew it was wrong and that he was sorry".

The prosecution counsel said that in the space of just under two hours on September 6, 2017, Cameron made 77 withdrawals, totalling £11,190, and attempted to get a further £1,440 through eight other failed ATM transactions.

Defence lawyer Charlene Dempsey said Cameron, who has been drug free for the past 18 months, saw the opportunity of repaying his significant drug debts and his rent arrears of over £3,000.

Ms Dempsey said that Cameron, "who always knew he would be caught", had "racked up" debts to fund his cocaine and alcohol addictions which finally led to the break-up of his marriage."

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