Delivery driver cleared of phone scam

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A DELIVERY driver accused of diverting iPhones to a gang of international criminals behind a £4.4million premium rate scam has been cleared.

It had been claimed Rachel Foster, 25, was paid a total of £210 for giving seven handsets to the group but she insisted she believed she had been meeting a manager from her own company.

She was acquitted in a unanimous verdict after a three-day trial at the Old Bailey.

Ms Foster was said to have handed the phones to the gang while working for the courier in Sunderland between April and September 2010.

The handsets were among more than 900 stolen iPhones, which had been registered with mobile network O2 to unwitting householders using fake and hijacked personal details.

After being diverted by corrupt delivery drivers, their sim cards were removed and used to make repeated calls to overseas premium rate lines owned by the gang – racking up unpaid bills of £4,427,525.

Ten delivery drivers have been convicted for their part in the scam. Five gang members who helped orchestrate the scam were jailed for a total of 13 years last October.

Ms Foster, of Agar Road, Farringdon, Sunderland, denied fraud by abuse of position and was cleared by the jury.

Her solicitor Nigel Barnes said: “This is an excellent result. Rachel has always denied any wrong doing and the experience has been very hard for her.”