British consumers using their credit and debit cards to purchase petrol from up to 200 petrol stations in towns including Edinburgh, Leeds and Bristol have been warned they may have been the victims of identity fraud.
The fraud operation, which police say involved 'retrieving' card details and pin numbers from cards used to purchase petrol, has been linked to a criminal gang associated with the Sri Lankan separatist group the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), popularly known as the Tamil Tigers.
The first secretary of the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, Maxwell Keegel, claimed that the Sri Lankan government had evidence to suggest the scam in Britain was funding separatist groups, who recently stepped up military operations in the country.
"Quite clearly this was well organised and it was done on an international basis," detective inspector Paul Welton of Humberside Police told BBC News.
But Sri Lankan sources have vehemently denied any connection with the identity fraudsters operating in the UK, and the police investigation continues.
Latest figures from fraud detection agency CIFAS, meanwhile, show that identity fraud countrywide rose 12 per cent between the first quarter of 2006 and 2007.
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