A Romanian man involved in a sophisticated bank card fraud thought to be worth more than £3 million with 9,000 potential victims has walked free from court.
Leonid Rotaru was given an 18-month jail term, suspended for two years, after he was convicted for his part in the scam.
Taunton Crown Court heard that the 32-year-old helped to fit "skimming" devices on cash dispensers, which downloaded the card details of those who used them.
Police said they discovered 9,000 different card accounts on a computer seized during the criminal investigation, estimating the network to which Rotaru belonged had access to at least £3 million – based on the average fraud per card for typical skimming offences.
Speaking outside the court, Avon and Somerset Police civilian investigator Barrie Douglas said: "The potential in these cases is always for a lot of money to be made. Banks say the average (fraud) per card is around £460."
Asked whether he was content with the sentence handed down to Rotaru, Mr Douglas said: "That's for the courts to decide, it's not for me."
The jury heard that father-of-two Rotaru, of Bridgwater, Somerset, had been living legally in the country for three years.
He fitted the discreet skimming device to a cash machine, which was later removed and used to download the card details from each victim's account. Those details were then sent via email to another man.
Rotaru told police he was "at the bottom end" of the operation, and that the "big boys operated out of London".
However, he refused to explain why he had not given their names to police as he left the court a free man. He also refused to say who received the card detail e-mails.
Judge Graham Hume Jones told Rotaru: "This is a sophisticated scam by which a number of people could have been victims.
"Even if they had been repaid by the banks, the banks themselves would have been the victims, and ultimately the banks' customers."
The court heard Rotaru skipped bail while under investigation for one such fraud, in Axminster, Devon, in 2011.
He was eventually convicted by a jury after his DNA was discovered inside the inner components of the tiny device.
Rotaru was sentenced for four counts of possessing an article for use in fraud and one count of possessing or controlling a false or improperly obtained identification card.