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Four cyber-criminals arrested following £1m bank theft

The Metropolitan Police Service's new Cyber Crime Unit (MPCCU) has arrested four people suspected of stealing £1 million from two UK banks.

The MPCCU was alerted to the crime after bank customers reported money disappearing from their online bank accounts. Detectives believe the money was taken when a number of customers inadvertently opened emails containing malware capable of siphoning money from their accounts.

The arrests took place on Tuesday morning following raids in North London that resulted in the seizure of £80,000 in cash, a Range Rover, a number of electronic devices and a live hand grenade. The grenade was secured by explosives experts at the scene and removed from the address.

Detective Chief Inspector Jason Tunn of the MPCCU said: "These arrests by the Met's Cyber Crime Unit follow an investigation into what we suspect is an international and organised crime targeting a number of bank customers in London and across the UK.

"The victims have been hoodwinked by malware-carrying emails purporting to be from their banks, and subsequently had money taken from their accounts."

Should the arrests lead to criminal convictions it would be a big boost for the Met Police, accused less than a month ago of losing the battle against cyber-crime.

The formation of the MPCCU in October has aimed to address this through dedicated and specialist responses to all types of cyber-crime, including hacking, phishing and the distribution of malware.

"The Met's Cyber Crime Unit is determined to protect people and businesses in London from cyber crime, which can see businesses ruined and people's hard-earned money taken from them in a second. We are working closely the banking industry to achieve that," DCI Tunn said.

"We will also seek to restrain and seize criminal profits where possible, in order to remove the financial benefit of online crime from cyber criminals."