Three poker players used micro-cameras and hidden earpieces to cheat a string of casinos in London out of an estimated pounds 250,000, police said yesterday.
The two men and a woman travelled around casinos in Britain as a team playing three-card poker. Using sophisticated surveillance equipment they allegedly beamed pictures of other people's hands to a computer monitor which was being watched by an associate.
He then gave the players instructions through their earpieces on how to bet. After growing suspicious, one casino in London called in the police and officers set up a sting operation to catch the players.
They were arrested in the early hours of Tuesday on suspicion of obtaining property by deception.
Detectives said it was the first time arrests of suspects using such surveillance had been made in this country.
David Mills of the UK Casino Association said: "We have been tracking the increasing trend towards technical casino crime for some years now and are pleased that our internal procedures proved successful. This decisive action . . . will again enforce this view that the London casinos are a safe, secure and crime-free environment."
Detective Inspector Darren Warner, from the Met's gaming unit, said: "The arrests are indicative of how the expertise of our unit, the only dedicated specialist unit of this type in the country, achieves good results when working so closely with casino surveillance departments."
All three suspects have been bailed to return to a central London police station in December.
(c) 2005 The Guardian