THAMESMEAD is the worst area in the country for bank card fraud, it has been revealed.

Fraud specialist firm the 3rd Man says Thamesmead is number one for frauds involving transactions over the phone and online made using other people’s card details.

Statistics show that in parts of Thamesmead, £1 in every £3 spent in this way is fraudulent.

The claim is based on an analysis by the company of more than 85 million card transactions made nationally from last August to this August.

Overall, of one million transactions monitored in Woolwich, Plumstead and Thamesmead, 66,000 were found to be fraudulent, totalling an estimated £18m in 'bad' transactions.

The 3rd Man’s director Andrew Goodwill says that two years ago his company identified one Thamesmead road where there was evidence of people being involved in fraud at every address.

He claims Nigerian gangmasters set up their workers in the area leading to many fraudulent purchases of beds and mattresses, moving on to televisions and hi-fis to furnish their flats.

Mr Goodwill said: ”Then they set about ordering goods to be delivered across Britain, making them much harder to trace.”

And he said, though card details were often stolen from people’s letterboxes, call centres were also being used.

Mr Goodwill said: “Fraudsters will try to infiltrate any company where it’s got a call centre.

“Nobody knows where the proceeds of this crime are going.”

Thamesmead’s reputation for financial crime has seen it dubbed in the tabloid press as Little Lagos.

A study by think tank Chatham House claims the area is one of several in London popular with West African gangs - in particular Nigerian scammers.

It claims the gangs, who see a short prison sentence is an occupational hazard, are particularly attracted to newbuild flats in regenerated areas.