Police raid suspected UK computer fraudsters

Over 20 arrested as authorities raid a dozen premises across the UK in a search for smuggled PCs

Customs and excise officers have arrested 21 men in the UK in connection with alleged computer hardware fraud estimated to be worth millions of pounds.

The men are suspected of importing millions of pounds worth of computer equipment from another EU country with the intention of selling it on without paying tax.

The operation, codenamed Darken, saw more than 100 officers raid 12 premises yesterday in Leicester, where nine men were arrested, and further properties in Oxford, Nottingham, Derby, Birmingham, Stevenage, Tring and Aylesbury.

"We are very pleased with how the operation has gone so far," said Customs and Excise spokesman Bill O'Learly. "It is very early in our investigation and there is still a lot of work to be done."

The men were held by police for questioning and have been released on police bail without charge. They will be reinterviewed at a later date.

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