Judge in Devon decries contactless bank payment cards

Robert Vipond Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police/ BBC
Image caption Robert Vipond, 34, was jailed for 18 months at Exeter Crown Court

A judge has criticised the contactless card payment method as making life too easy for criminals.

Recorder Mr David Bartlett said it was "quite ludicrous that the banks have allowed this to happen", after hearing how a card was used by a thief to buy goods soon after being stolen.

Robert Vipond was jailed for 18 months at Exeter Crown Court after admitting fraud and theft offences.

He used the contactless card to buy £23 of tobacco and groceries in Exeter.

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Contactless cards can be used for transactions of up to £30 and do not require the entering of a PIN number or any form of identification.

In sentencing Vipond, Mr Bartlett said: "You can make these contactless payments now. It seems quite ludicrous that banks allow this to happen.

"It seems anyone who steals a card can wave it around until it is reported as stolen."

The court heard the card was taken from a man's bedside table as he slept in his home in Exeter in the early hours of 5 April.

Vipond made the contactless purchase soon afterwards, and also took out cash from bank machines using a PIN number, which had been left on the same table as the wallet.

The offence was one of a spree in which Vipond used two stolen cards to withdraw £250 cash, buy a £1,500 watch and spend £279 of clothes.

He is a heroin addict with 32 previous convictions for theft, and had been released from a four and a half year sentence nine days before the offences.

Vipond, aged 34, of Gissons Lane, Kennford, admitted handling stolen bank cards, theft, and four counts of fraud.

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