A HUSBAND and wife teamed up as part of a “sophisticated” scheme to steal more than £10,000 from cash machines across Hampshire.

Otilia and Ovidiu-Andrei Viscreanu were part of a group who used specially adapted cards to trick machines into paying out cash, without an account being debited.

Husband Ovidiu-Andrei would carry out the thefts, while, on one occasion, wife Otilia waited nearby to collect the stolen cash.

When police caught up with the pair, they found a large chunk of the money and two Bentley vehicles outside their Southampton home.

Appearing at Southampton Crown Court this week, the pair both received prison sentences.

The court heard how Ovidiu-Andrei targeted three cash machines between July and October last year.

Using a method, known as transaction reversal fraud, the 27-year-old would enter a specially adapted Health Lottery Cards into the machine.

Prosecutor Peter Pride said the cards would trick the machine into bringing up cash and reverse the debit back to the bank.

The court heard Ovidiu-Andrei would then use a tool, such as a screwdriver, to force open the pay-out box and he would then take the cash.

Mr Pride said the Ovidiu-Andrei, assisted by another unnamed man, would repeat this several times at the same machine over several hours – each time taking £500.

The court heard Ovidiu-Andrei targeted cash machines in Petersfield, Cosham and at Tesco in Bursledon, stealing around £13,000 in the process.

During the Petersfield theft, he was joined by wife Otilia, who sat in a car nearby collecting the money and storing it in a handbag.

When police arrived, after a tip-off from a resident, she was found to have around £3,000.

While searching the couple’s home, in Charlton Road, Shirley, officers found wads of the stolen cash, receipts of bank transfers to Romania and two Bentley cars.

A defence barrister for the couple, both of previous good character, said one of the cars was a write-off vehicle and the other was worth just £14,000.

Ovidiu-Andrei pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit theft, while Otilia pleaded guilty to converting criminal property.

Husband Ovidiu-Andrei was given an 18 month sentence by Judge Nicholas Rowland.

Wife Otilia, whose crime was less serious, was given an eight month sentence and was immediately released – having served the equivalent time while in custody.