A Birmingham bank manager helped carry out a £1.3 million fraud against Barclays banks, targeting the bank accounts of wealthy customers, a court has heard.

Karl Edwards, who worked as a premier relationship manager at Barclays in Hagley Road, was one of two insiders who helped to fleece savers and that he was in league with Andrew Waters, who worked for the bank in Croydon.

Edwards, 42, from Crookbarrow Road, Brockhill, Worcestershire, has denied two charges of conspiracy along with Waters, 24, from London.

Nathan Denton, 35, of Haymar Way, Marston Green, and David Goldring, 40, from Edgehill, Liverpool, are also standing trial for the offences, which they deny.

David Howker QC, prosecuting, told Birmingham Crown Court: “We know that, in the spring and summer of 2006, the accounts of Mr and Mrs Bach and Miss Truslove were emptied.

“It was obviously an inside job. The accounts were targeted. The accounts were no doubt selected because they had lots of money in them.

“They were virtually dormant. You remember there was no real activity in them. They were effectively savings accounts. The account holders were elderly, they were in their 80s and you might think they were ideal bank accounts to rip off.”

Mr Howker said that Waters was “perfectly placed” to access the accounts and secure the vital bit of information needed by the fraudsters, the victims’ dates of birth, so that false passports could be made.

He said there was evidence Waters had accessed the accounts on the bank’s computer at the relevant times and that the fraudsters had carried out the scam by creating the identities of nonexistent relatives of those targeted.

He said the role of the other insider, Edwards, was to create new accounts for the money to be siphoned into, with a large part of it being moved offshore.

Mr Howker said the fraudsters could have sent someone to the bank to open up the fake accounts, although this involved a number of risks.

He went on: “So the perfect situation is what you have here. You have someone like Edwards who has the trust of Barclays and whose job it is to bring in new accounts.

“Therefore, you do not need to run the risk of putting one of the gang in the firing line.

“As long as Edwards represents to the bank that he has got his clients’ consent to do the transfers, the fraud is home and dry.”

Mr Howker said there was also evidence that Edwards had transferred £23,000 to himself, although he was later to claim it was part of some sort of aborted property deal.

He said that Denton and Goldring had received large sums of the fraudulently obtained money and were also connected to fake documents.

Mr Howker, in opening the case, said money obtained was spent in shops and that cash was withdrawn from ATMs.

The case continues.