Irish police arrested two men and a woman, all from Zimbabwe, in a bust up of a fraud ring targeting charities. The international gang attempted to steal €2.5m from charities, as well as business firms, by using the organizations’ bank details and forged signatures.

In raids by the police fraud bureau in Drogheda and Galway on Wednesday, detectives discovered high-spec counterfeiting equipment used to clone credit cards. They also found that the gang, who had been operating the scam since May, had also been involved in the theft of checks.

The intervention by detectives prevented most of the scams from being successful. Last month, €160,000 was recovered for the Marie Keating Foundation.

Other charities targeted by the gang included the Gary Kelly Cancer Support Centre and the Des Smyth Drogheda Youth Foundation.

Although, most of the attempts were thwarted, the gang was successful in getting away with €300,000 in transferred monies.

The alleged ringleader Micheal Tuzuka from Zimbabwe was arrested in Drogheda County Louth after a nationwide investigation.

He was charged with a series of fraud offences that included  possesing high-tech counterfeiting equipment, dealing in  stolen checks and theft.