Three men have been imprisoned for carrying out a phishing scam that could have netted them well over 59 million, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) announced today.

The Met said it was one of the biggest cyber cases it has ever dealt with and likely the biggest cyber phishing case in the UK to date.

When the Mets Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) was alerted to 2,600 phishing pages on the Internet in October last year, it began surveillance on Birmingham resident Sunday Godday Etu and his Romanian accomplices Inout Caraman and Adrian Iorgovean.

The phishing pages mimicked various banking websites, targeting users in the UK, US, Russia, China, Australia and Canada, attempting to get them to hand over their login information.

The three men were tracked down to a luxury hotel in central London, where they were caught accessing servers storing stolen banking information.

It later emerged they had stolen the personal data of almost 30,000 bank customers, 12,500 of which were from the UK, whilst over 70 million customer email addresses had been obtained, so that the crooks could scale up their operation.

Having seized kit from across Europe, and taken in financial documents from Romania as evidence of money laundering, it was estimated the criminals could have made 59 million just from the UK victims. That means the final amount saved was likely to have been far higher, the Met said.