A ROMANIAN immigrant has been given a suspended prison sentence after admitting his role in trying to put a false front on a cash machine.

Petrut Ciseman had been in the country for only four months when he and an accomplice were spotted tampering with the machine outside Tesco Express in Anerley Hill.

At Croydon Crown Court on November 6, 26-year-old Ciseman, from Norbury, pleaded guilty to possessing articles for fraud and was given a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months.

Ciseman will also have to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay £250 costs.

Prosecutor Philip Jones said the two men were seen lurking around the machine on May 1 by a man living nearby, who used binoculars to watch them.

Mr Jones said: “He noticed they were looking at the machine and then began to wait at a bus stop, although they never got on any of the buses which came along.

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“They seemed to be carefully observing users of the machine and then began to wait at a bus stop , although they never got on any of the buses which came along.

“They seemed to be carefully observing users of the machine.

“Ciseman was on his mobile while the other man was fiddling with the machine.

“They both left but came back an hour later, when the second man again began fiddling around.”

The court heard the man was seen poking a screwdriver into the machine.

Police were called and the men were stopped while driving along Anerley Hill.

Mr Jones added: “In their car were two false machine fronts, a card-skimming device, tools, glue, a screwdriver and two cards on which could be put details.

The pair were arrested and bailed, but only Ciseman turned up on the return date of June 19.

Matthew Paul, mitigating, said building worker Ciseman came to the UK in January.

He met up with the other man, who talked him into taking up the cash machine racket.

He had money problems and had been paying a high rent.

Mr Paul added: “He was an inexperienced junior partner in the scam.”

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