Two university students from Manchester allegedly scammed Tesco stores across Northern Ireland using a cloned Clubcard app purchased on TikTok, the High Court heard today.
Prosecutors claimed Emmanuel Moyo and Suleiman Ayaz repeatedly targeted branches last week to steal high-value goods and dishonestly obtain money by a cashback system.
The accused, both aged 21, were granted bail but banned from all Tesco outlets in the United Kingdom.
Moyo, of Longford Road in Manchester, and Ayaz, from Laceby Avenue in the city, are jointly charged with counts of fraud by false representation, theft and attempted theft.
Prosecutors said they were arrested after Tesco reported multiple incidents at stores in Crumlin, Ballymena, Lurgan, Banbridge and Craigavon between June 5 and 6.
Both students were allegedly viewed on CCTV footage selecting electronic toothbrushes and other expensive items.
“They proceeded to the self-service checkouts and scanned multiple Clubcard vouchers on a smartphone, ultimately reducing the price of the goods to zero,” a Crown lawyer claimed.
“They also simulated putting physical vouchers into machines using a bank card, and the machines were then overridden to dispense cash.”
Tesco suffered total losses of £1,966.92 in the scam, the court heard.
Moyo made admissions during police interviews, but implied that the retailer was at fault for any money taken through the cashback system.
“He explained that he bought an app through TikTok for £250 which was a clone of a Tesco Clubcard app,” the prosecutor disclosed.
“He said they came to Northern Ireland when they finished (their university year) as they heard it was cheap to visit.”
According to Moyo’s account, the plan was to either sell the items or give them to family and friends.
Any cash obtained through the self-service machines had been an unexpected “bonus”.
Ayaz made no comment when questioned by detectives.
Opposing bail, counsel submitted: “Police are of the view they have travelled here purely to commit these offences.”
Mr Justice Rooney was told Moyo is currently studying architecture at the University of Salford.
“He has a defined career path, assuming he completes his degree,” his barrister said.
Ayaz has also completed the second year of a university course in electrical engineering.
Both accused were granted bail following assurances that checks will be carried out on them by police in Manchester.
Requesting £1,000 cash sureties as part of the release terms, Mr Justice Rooney confirmed they are to be prohibited from entering any Tesco stores in the UK.
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