THE leader of a cyber gang which plundered £1.25 million from British banks has been jailed for five and a half years.

Other members of the group were also handed substantial prison terms at London's Southwark Crown Court for their roles in the audacious fraud.

Tony Colston-Hayter, 48, led the gang which used a "Trojan horse" device to hijack computers at branches of Barclays and Santander and siphon off cash. They also stole credit and bank card details from around one million intercepted letters and used them to splash out on Rolex watches and designer jewellery worth more than £1 million.

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Colston-Hayter, the son of a university lecturer and solicitor, had earlier pleaded guilty to masterminding the fraud while others also admitted their part in the scam and some were found guilty.