DETECTIVES have swooped on a gang suspected of being involved in stealing more than £22m-worth of cyber-currency from over 4,000 victims worldwide.

The investigation, led by south west's regional organised crime unit together with Dutch police, was launched after a Wiltshire-based victim complained of losing £1,700-worth of Bitcoin to thieves.

Six people were arrested in Staverton, Wiltshire, Charlcombe and Lower Weston in Bath and in Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands on Tuesday..

The five men and one woman are suspected of being involved in a practice called "typosquatting", where criminals create imitations of well-known online currency exchange websites used to trade crypto-currencies like Bitcoin.

Det Insp Louise Boyce of the South west Regional Cyber Crime Unit, said: “The investigation has grown from a single report of £17k worth of bitcoin stolen from a Wiltshire-based victim to a current estimate of more than four thousand victims in at least 12 countries. We expect that number to grow."

The three south west men were arrested on suspicion of committing computer misuse and money laundering. The Dutch suspects were arrested on suspicion of money laundering.