Asylum seeker used cloned bank card in Plymouth
AN ASYLUM-SEEKER used cloned bank cards to commit a string of frauds across the South West, a court heard.
Mamadou Doumbia, aged 24, bought gift cards, fuel and a laptop computer worth hundreds of pounds, Plymouth Crown Court was told.
Doumbia, of Linden Road, Bristol, admitted three counts of fraud by falsely claiming he had a credit card to pay for goods in Plymouth on July 5 last year. He also pleaded guilty to possession of articles for use in fraud, namely cloned bank cards, on the same day.
Doumbia had earlier admitted to two similar counts of fraud in Taunton on June 25. He asked for two similar offences, in St Blazey near St Austell on June 30, and in Plymouth on July 5, to be taken into consideration.
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Jason Beal, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Doumbia and an unknown male used a cloned credit card in the House of Fraser store on July 5 to buy gift cards worth £300 and £400.
He added they then immediately used one of the cards to buy sunglasses worth £180 in the same store. Mr Beal said staff became suspicious and called police, who tracked Doumbia on city centre CCTV and arrested him nearby.
The court heard Doumbia's wallet contained several cloned credit cards.
Nigel Wraith, for Doumbia, said he had not made the cards himself and had been put under pressure by another man to pay off some debts. He added Doumbia, who used to live in Torquay, had come from his native Ivory Coast in 2004.
Mr Wraith said he had worked in the past as a personal fitness trainer but at the time of the offences had no money to survive. The court heard he was now living in a hostel and being paid an allowance as he awaited the outcome of his asylum claim.
Judge Graham Cottle gave him a nine-month community prison term suspended for two years. He must do 150 hours of unpaid work.