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Topic: The great £20 note forgery in UK History  (Read 4247 times)
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« on: November 24, 2006, 09:58:48 pm »

[size=14]The great £20 note forgery in UK History [/size]

Expert Forgers Jailed for 41 Years
Friday, 24th November 2006, 07:41
Category: Crime and Punishment

A gang of sophisticated forgers, including three generations of the same family, produced so many fake £20 notes that the whole banking system was under threat.

Two thirds of all the dodgy notes circulating in 2005 were produced by the "family business" and the Bank of England recovered more than £14 million pounds worth of fake £20 notes.

The gang, ranging in age from 23 to 71, was arrested after a lengthy surveillance and phone tapping operation launched when the financial authorities became suspicious.

In workshops just off Shoreditch High Street detectives discovered hot foiling machines - to insert silver foil into notes - printers and guillotines. A secret camera embedded it the front door allowed the gang to maintain security.

More printing machinery was found in sheltered housing where one of the gang member's 85 year old great grandmother lived and a stash of £22,000 worth of notes wrapped in plastic was sitting on top of her kitchen cupboard waiting for distribution.

In a caravan raided by detectives they discovered another £450,000 cash.

Today nine members of the gang were jailed for a total of 41 and a half years in what is the largest counterfeiting case to come before the courts.

Prosecutor Tim Cray told Snaresbrook Crown Court: "This is believed to be the largest counterfeiting case ever to come before the courts in this jurisdiction.

"This conspiracy was regarded by the fiscal authorities as a threat of the highest order to the banking system. It also involved the production of counterfeit notes on an industrial scale and was organised by dedicated and resourceful criminals."

The gang, he said, were "part of the biggest and most effective counterfeit operation that the Bank of England has ever come across.

"Only the counterfeiters themselves know how many fake banknotes they have put into circulation."

He added that the Bank of England had recovered £14,280,320 in counterfeit £20 notes and 1,367,550 in counterfeit 50 Euro notes.

Mr Cray continued: "Even more significant, to look at the statistics in a different way, is that at a time the conspiracy was at its height the Bank estimates that approximately 66 per cent of all counterfeit notes that were recovered in 2005 were part of the £20 series.

"Those figures are based on the notes that were recovered. The impossibility of estimating the number in circulation is an indication of the effect of the counterfeits."

The gang operated in workshops and homes across London and Essex. Some operated as family businesses where parents and even grandparents roped in younger members.

The court heard that the notes were produced in three stages. The first involved the printing, the second involved adding silver security foil and finally finishing the note off with a laser.

Mr Cray continued: "As far as the work of the conspirators is concerned this is an aspect that required organisation. The work was labour intensive and time consuming which explains why more than one site was necessary."

He added it was run as a business organisation with the usual "complaints about pressures of time, meeting orders and deadlines and comments about who was and who was not able to carry out the work efficiently".

The court was told that Terrence Reife, 55, was the principal organiser of the scam. He was joined by Gerald Byard, 63, James Brook, 64, and Michael Liddiard, 59, who together organised the manufacture of "thousands" of notes per day.

The group then involved Anthony Williams, 50, his daughter Keely Williams, 30, and Paul Kemble, 42, in the project.

Gerald Byard then involved his daughter Tracy Byard, 41, and granddaughter Leigh-Nicole Byard, 23, in the scam at various addresses belonging to the family, including his 85 year old mother's home.

The final pair involved were Terrence Jackson, 58 and Patrick Wingrove, 71.

After a lengthy surveillance operation the two main printing outfits, the Torpedo Print Shop and nearby Cleve art workshop in Hackney were raided in December last year.

Reife, of Lucern Close, Cheshunt, Herts, Anthony Williams, of Haberdasher Street, Hoxton, Keely Williams, of Royal Oak Court, Pitfield Street, Hoxton, Brook, of Laxfield Court, Pownall Road, Dalston, and Kemble, of Nevitt House, Cranston Estate, New North Road, Islington, all admitted conspiracy to produce both counterfeit sterling and Euro notes.

Gerald Byard, of Poplar Court, Greensward Lane, Hockley, Essex, admitted conspiracy to produce sterling notes.

Wingrove, of Fellows Court, Hackney Road, Shoreditch, admitted possession of counterfeit Euros and sterling. He also admitted an unrelated charge of possession of two kilos of cannabis with intent to supply.

Tracy Byard, of Greatfield Avenue, East Ham, Leigh-Nicole Byard, of Saxon Court, London Road, Benfleet, Essex, and Jackson, of Suffolk Court, Rochford, Essex, were all convicted of conspiracy to make counterfeit notes.

Liddiard, of Fellows Court, Weymouth Terrace, Shoreditch, was cleared of conspiracy to make counterfeit £20 notes but found guilty of conspiracy to make counterfeit fifty Euro notes.

Liddiard and Keely Williams will be sentenced on December 21 due to health reasons

Copyright © 2006 National News +44(0)207 684 3000
« Last Edit: November 24, 2006, 09:59:10 pm by coinsplus »

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