Three forgers jailed for total of 12 years after biggest ever plot to flood Britain with £1.5million in fake pound coins

  • Kevin Fisher, 53, Daniel Sullivan, 28, and Mark Abbott, 44, imprisoned
  • Undercover police operation found huge storage container in Essex
  • Scotland Yard says some of fake currency might now be in circulation

By Mark Duell

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Three forgers were today jailed for a total of 12 years following what police believe was the largest ever plot to make fake pound coins in the UK - some of which may still be in circulation.

Kevin Fisher, 53, of Goffs Oak, Hertfordshire, Daniel Sullivan, 28, of Hornchurch, east London, and Mark Abbott, 44, of Edmonton, north London, were all sentenced at Southwark Crown Court today.

The three men were behind what is thought to be a record number of fake coins worth £1.5million, which were discovered after an undercover Metropolitan Police operation in May last year.

Kevin Fisher
Daniel Sullivan

Fake cash: Kevin Fisher (left), 53, of Hertfordshire, and Daniel Sullivan (right), 28, of east London, were jailed

A 40ft storage container that contained 1,600,000 metal discs was found in Waltham Abbey, Essex, with £20,000 of fake coins. There was also £30,000 in fake coins in a car nearby.

Scotland Yard said the haul was ‘the tip of the iceberg’ for the gang, and that the coins were of high enough quality to pass off as real. It said some of the fake currency might now be in circulation.

 

Bucketfuls of bogus 'good to go' coins worth £85,000 were seized at another site in Waltham Abbey.

Some 30,000 coins were also discovered buried in the flooring of Abbott's Chrysler people-carrier, stashed in 30 boxes each containing £1,000, the court heard.

Grandfather: Mark Abbott, 44, was 'in financial hardship and promised money for his participation'

Grandfather: Mark Abbott, 44, was 'in financial hardship and promised money for his participation'

The gang used pay-as-you-go phones and coded messages to try to slip under the radar.

Ringleader Fisher was jailed for seven years, co-conspirator Sullivan for three, and trader Abbott for two.

Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said: 'This was a scheme to manufacture and pass counterfeit coins on a very large scale indeed.

'I have no way of knowing how much counterfeit currency had been passed into the economy but the minimum number of coins and discs seized in this case was over 1.5million.

'This was a sophisticated and carefully run operation with pay-as-you-go phones and coded text messages to prevent detection. The reliability of the money in our pockets is essential in everyday life.'

Shaven-headed and wearing a grey fleece jacket, Abbott put his head in his hands and appeared to be on the verge of tears as the sentence was passed.

Fisher, wearing a beige sweater, light blue shirt and glasses, and Sullivan, sporting a black long-sleeved top, remained stony-faced as they were led out of the dock.

Alexander Cameron, defending Fisher, insisted he was not the person who produced the blank discs or hired the containers, adding that someone else was ‘making money out of it’.

Jason Dunn-Shaw, defending Abbott, said the father of three and grandfather of one was part of a 'close family’, adding: 'He was in financial hardship and was promised money for his participation.’

Stash: Some of the counterfeit money that was seized by Scotland Yard officers in an undercover operation

Stash: Some of the counterfeit money that was seized by Scotland Yard officers in an undercover operation

Fisher was found guilty of conspiring to pass counterfeit coins, and having custody of items to make counterfeit coins.

'This was a sophisticated and carefully run operation with pay-as-you-go phones and coded text messages to prevent detection'

Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith

Sullivan was found guilty of conspiring to pass counterfeit coins, but cleared of having items to make them.

Abbott pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to pass or give to another to pass a counterfeit of a protected coin.

Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector Bruce South said outside court: ‘These three men are organised criminals who were intent on undermining the UK monetary system.

‘There is nothing fake about the reality they must now face of life behind bars. We remain steadfast in our determination disrupt and tackle organised criminal networks’.

The comments below have not been moderated.

Obviously the people who gave this comment (Should have been 12 years each.) a red mark are quite happy that these forgers are literally reducing the value of the genuine £'s in our pocket. They must have more money than me.

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Doesn't the BoE do the same thing? Prints money....soon enough it won't be worth the paper they're printed on

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- Idontwantausername , Idontliveinacity, 22/5/2013 12:29.. Are you serious mate? Ask yourself what would happen if creating fake currency was not a crime... everyone would do it. Then you get hyper-inflation where all money becomes worthless. You should check out what happened to Germany after the first world war in terms of printing money and hyper-inflation.

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The coins having a 'face value' of £1.5m does not mean that they are 'worth' £1.5M. More lazy journalism from the DM. - Ian16th , Johannesburg, 22/5/2013 10:10..................................................... What are you talking about? A "face value" fake £1 is worth exactly £1 as they could used in any shop to buy things

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One article is telling us that we shouldn't use our cards and one article is telling us that money is fake!

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So... what constitutes a crime? Harm or loss to another being... Who lost? Nobody... Who was harmed? Nobody... Who benefits? The people who bought the coins for less than their face value... the communities where the money was spent and of course the three defendants. But as with ALL Statutes and Acts disguised as LAW.... they are put in place by the Establishment to protect the Establishment from us. The only crime here is taking some of the banksters action. This also shows that if the Banks were allowed to fail... we can print our own money... Bring Back the Bradbury Pound.

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@- John , Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, 22/5/2013 09:04 :" What a pity that our (so called) prisons, are not prisons."==> Yes.. they are free hotel, free food, and free utility bills especially if they are in a whole family in prisons, just like having party... and no punishment.

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WOW - what a hefty sentence should of been MAX a couple of years - joke justice system yet again!!!

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That's a lot of trips to the pound shops.

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What is all the fuss about the pound is basicly worthless so another 1.5million isn`t going to make much difference will it.

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