Wales

Si-lwli: Toy maker has £18k stolen in hacking scam

Draigi Image copyright Si-lwli
Image caption Hackers siphoned off £18,000 meant to pay for new toys being made in China

A small Welsh language toy company says it is fighting for survival after hackers stole £18,000 in a "sophisticated" fraud.

Si-lwli makes soft toys that sing Welsh language songs and nursery rhymes for young children.

But the firm, run by Awena Walkden and her husband in Menai Bridge, Anglesey, said emails for an order were intercepted and altered.

Criminals siphoned off money meant to pay for new toys being made in China.

The couple had arranged for its latest creation, a red dragon toy called Draigi, to be manufactured at a site in China.

"Someone had hacked the factory network," said Ms Walkden told BBC Radio Cymru's Taro'r Post.

"It seems that someone has been looking at each email and stopping some - and changing some information within the email."

Changes included payment account details, so the money for the order never reached the Chinese manufacturers.

Instead, the couple had to hand over another £18,000 for the Chinese firm to release the new toys.

Image caption Si-lwli said the first toy it had designed was the very first to sing in Welsh

"There's no way of getting the money back - it's absolutely awful," Ms Walkden added.

She said developing the toys and the business was something that she and her husband did outside of their day-to-day jobs, because of their passion for the Welsh language.

Ms Walkden said the police had been unable to help, as the fraud had taken place in China.

"The impact on you personally just can't be measured. I've learnt an awfully expensive and hard lesson," she said.

"It's left us in a a terrible situation."

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