Computer hardware thefts investigated by police

High cost computer chips recovered in bust

Police raided 20 addresses in London Wednesday night, uncovering details of a suspected computer theft ring thought responsible for multi-million pound robberies on major banks across the capital.

Computer criminals in recent months have targeted banks and universities, stealing valuable high-end computer components -- mainly processors -- for highly lucrative black market trade.

Last week Deutsche Bank had computer components estimated to be worth £1.6m stolen. A spokesman for Islington police station, which coordinated Wednesday's raids, says that the majority of thefts are carried out to order, although it is unclear where components are going. "But we believe that they would not steal these without a market," he says.

The dawn raids on London addresses recovered a hoard of computer equipment. Sun Microsystems, Dell, Compaq and Cisco make components that are highly prized by computer thieves. The processors are used to power enterprise level computer systems and applications.

Eleven men were arrested in the raids and are being held by police for questioning.

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