Fraudster rumbled by eagle-eyed CCTV operator in St Albans city centre

St Albans city centre. Photo: Danny Loo.

St Albans city centre. Photo: Danny Loo. - Credit: Archant

An eagle-eyed CCTV operator has helped solve a fraud case after spotting a man suspected of stealing from cash machines.

The St Albans council worker was monitoring the city centre through his surveillance screens when he spied a wanted man at Barclays bank.

He rang police and officers swooped in to arrest the individual.

The police later searched a London property linked to the suspect and found a large amount of stolen property.

Andrei Neacsu, 26, was charged with five counts of possessing a skimming device for use in fraud.

He pleaded guilty to all the offences at Hatfield Remand Court last month and was remanded in custody and until sentencing at St Albans Crown Court on Friday, January 12.

St Albans’ Chief Inspector Shane O’Neill said: “CCTV footage is an additional resource that can provide vital evidence for us when investigating and solving crime.

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“The CCTV operators at St Albans council support us in our work to keep the city safe.”

The council’s CCTV system covers the city centre and several other areas.

It has helped catch a number of suspects in the last year, and the recorded evidence has also been used in court.

A man who was suspected of stealing a charity box was arrested after being spotted on camera.

A description of a man was circulated after he was spotted acting suspiciously near St Peter’s Church in September.

Less than an hour after that, a 50-year-old was arrested after being seen near some shops 50 miles away.

Four suspected shoplifters were also arrested after they were not noticed by the stores.

CCTV also helped catch three men who had allegedly just committed a robbery, a man seen tampering with a cash machine, and a drunk driver.

St Albans council’s portfolio holder for business Beric Read said: “Once again one of our CCTV operators has come to the aid of the police.

“On this occasion, police have gone on to arrest a man wanted over cash machine thefts.

“It is another example of how valuable our CCTV system can be in combating crime.”

The system is provided by a contractor and has been in use since 2001.