LONDON (Reuters) - Four men appeared in a British court on Saturday over an alleged attempt to steal millions of pounds from Santander by hacking into the bank's computer system, police said.

Twelve men were arrested on Friday, following an operation by the Metropolitan Police's Central e-Crime Unit, over the alleged plot which centered on a Santander branch in southeast London.

Four were charged late on Friday and appeared on Saturday at Westminster Magistrates' Court for an initial hearing. They were named as 25-year-old Lanre Mullins-Abudu, 34-year-old Dean Outram, Akash Vaghela, 27, and Asad Ali Qureshi, 35.

Eight others have been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Louise Ireland and Janet Lawrence)