Cape Town - Commercial Fraud Unit (CFU) members surprised a man while he was preparing to clone bank cards in his bedroom, a policeman told the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Bellville on Tuesday.

Warrant Officer Jonathan Simpson, an intelligence official attached to the police Crime Prevention Unit, told the court he was with the CFU team when it secretly entered a three-bedroomed apartment in Thornton, Cape Town, about midday on October 1, 2010.

Simpson testified that he entered the unlocked room first, followed by his colleagues, to find Ikennia Ezennia sitting on his bed with a laptop, into which card cloning cables and a skimming device were plugged.

Ezennia and his co-accused Martin Igube, both Nigerians, have pleaded not guilty before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg to a charge of conspiracy to commit bank card fraud.

Simpson told the court the apartment belonged to a policewoman, who lived there and leased the two spare rooms to foreigners.

The policewoman had told him she suspected her tenants were cloning bank cards in Ezennia's room, and she also told Simpson of Ezennia's daily movements.

She claimed Ezennia usually visited a nearby pub in the morning, and returned to the apartment about midday, allegedly to clone bank cards.

Simpson said it was essential to catch Ezennia in the act, before he could dispose of his cloning equipment.

He and the CFU positioned themselves higher up the street, where they had a clear view of the apartment, and could see Ezennia when he left the pub.

Simpson said they waited a few minutes after Ezennia entered the flat, before quietly unlocking the front door.

They moved quietly to Ezennia's room, where the door was ajar. Simpson entered first, followed by the others.

Simpson said he identified himself as a police officer, and Ezennia appeared shocked at their entrance.

Andre Johnson, for the defence, said he would dispute the validity of the entry-and-search without a search warrant, and that the court would be required to make a ruling on it after a trial-within-a-trial.

The matter was postponed to next Tuesday.

Sapa