A garage cashier has narrowly avoided jail for his part in a fuel card cloning scam in which £30,000 of petrol and diesel was stolen from forecourts across Birmingham.
Khaled Abdulkawi cloned at least 46 cards at the Esso Falcon Service Station, Halesowen, and passed them to accomplices who topped up their tanks at the expense of companies signed up to the Allstar Fuel Card scheme.
The 26-year-old, from Dorothy Adams Close in Cradley Heath, copied the cards between November 2013 and May 2014 before two men used them repeatedly at regional garages, primarily in Washwood Heath and Erdington.
One of the suspected thieves – a 38-year-old man from Hodge Hill – was arrested in April after CCTV footage was released by West Midlands Police of men caught on camera using duplicate cards. He has been bailed till later this month while the other (pictured) remains outstanding.
Abdulkawi admitted three counts of fraud and at Birmingham Crown Court on 23 July was given an 18-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid community work.
DC Launa Rowley from the Economic Crime Unit, said: “The scam was identified after some fuel card customers reported strange transactions on their accounts – but whenever one of the cards became ‘hot’ the fraudsters moved onto the next card cloned by Abdulkawi in order to keep the con going.
“That’s why they were able to rack up such a large quantity of stolen fuel over a period of many months.
“I’m still looking for information on one man suspected of being involved in the con and who was caught on a shop camera offering a cloned card as payment. If anyone recognises the man I’d urge them to call me on the 101 number.”
The man police want to speak to is described as white, aged in his late 20s or early 30s, slim build, with short reddish-brown hair with a side parting. He is often seen wearing a dark blue or grey parka-style coat with a fur hood and toggle fastenings on the front, or a fawn and brown hooded top with shoulder patches.
Anyone who believes they recognise him is asked to call the Economic Crime Unit at West Midlands Police on the 101 number, or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.