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Counterfeiters jailed for total of 13 years

21/06/2012

A gang who produced £700,000 in fake £20 notes and sold them on have been jailed for a total of 13 years.

The three men used shop-bought computers, printers and ink cartridges to make tens of thousands of fake notes and then sold them to be passed into the community. They were caught after a suspicious supplier of print materials raised the alarm and alerted police.

The prosecution told Liverpool Crown Court that there were two types of note produced, many of which are thought to be still in circulation. The first, with the serial number DK51674934, came to light after being used to buy a pizza in Merseyside in November 2010. The second, bearing the number DD16577493, was an improved version with a more convincing holographic seal and foil strip.

More than 30,000 fake £20 notes were produced between late 2010 and August last year and £650,000-worth eventually found its way into the economy.

Analysis of the seized notes by an expert from the Bank of England showed they were all manufactured in the same way, the only equipment required being a computer, together with laser and inkjet printers  - all available over the counter, at high-street stores.

The only unusual ingredients were specialist toner foils, which are also readily available over the counter but via fewer specialist suppliers.

Using surveillance techniques, police gathered key evidence and tracked John Reilly, 21, and Christopher O'Driscoll, 31, as they bought the specialist foil, using false names, as well as boxes of computer equipment, printer paper and ink.

Reilly and O'Driscoll were sentenced to five years each. Accomplice Joshua Lee was jailed for three years.

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