Cyber crooks fleeced nearly £100,000 from a churchgoer that was meant to help pay for a new community centre.

Two crooks from south Essex were part of a criminal network which scammed and defrauded the devout woman of £98,550.

Money mules Sean Doyle, 34, of Laindon, and Afizz Olanrewaju, 28, of Tilbury, tricked their victim into thinking she was following instructions sent to her via email from a senior official within the Oxfordshire-based church.

But the sender's address contained an extra dot and the money - which was due to be spent on a new community centre - ended up in the fraudsters' bank accounts.

Several members of the cyber network allowed the others access to their personal data in exchange for a cut of the proceeds.

The five crooks were sentenced last week for money laundering after being found guilty in a trial at Woolwich Crown Court.

The jury heard how transactions totalling £98,550 were made by the church between October 30 and November 12 in 2014.

The money was transferred to two separate bank accounts before being split up and forwarded to several others.

Detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate took over the investigation when it was discovered that one of the original two accounts, which had received £68,650, belonged to a woman in Gravesend, Kent.

Isaac Andrews, 43, of Morden, south London, was head of the network, after being identified as the link between the money mules and the man responsible for the money laundering operation and he was arrested in May 2017.

Andrews was jailed for three years, whilst the four other crooks received suspended prison sentences and 80 hours unpaid work.

Doyle received six months, and Olanrewaju received nine months, both suspended for two years.

Det Sgt Jon Saxby, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "This was a lengthy and complex investigation that sends a clear message to criminals like Andrews that no matter how much time has passed or how clever you think you have been, your crimes will catch up with you in the end.

"Nationally there has been an emerging trend where offenders persuade vulnerable people or students to allow them to use their bank accounts, sometimes in exchange for a percentage of the cash sent to them.

"Whether the account owner benefits from the transaction or not, by making their account available they have become criminally involved in the money-laundering process. Ignorance is not an excuse and could land you before the courts."