A WEARSIDE businessman has been arrested after a swoop at his home by police and trading standard officers as part of a major nationwide investigation into cyber crime.
Stephen Oliver was quizzed as part of a probe into so-called ‘copycat’ websites – which imitate official online Government sites, offering services such as booking driving tests and renewing passports.
Mr Oliver was arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation following a raid at his home at The Folly, West Boldon, at about 7am on Friday, June 27.
He has been released on bail pending further inquiries.
Jamie Wyatt and Michael Hughes, both 23, from Blyth and Hartlepool respectively, who have run a string of websites with Oliver, were also arrested as part of the operation in the same week.
Wyatt is said to have studied business at Sunderland University.
A total of five arrests were made across England after search warrants were executed at four addresses as part of the investigation, which trading standards officers say could disrupt the operation of at least 25 copycat websites.
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman confirmed they had been involved in the early morning raid in West Boldon.
She said: “Police supported trading standards carrying out a warrant.
“A 43-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation.”
The operation was carried out with police support by National Trading Standards’ eCrime team.