Hornchurch taxi driver jailed after police discover record-breaking haul of fake £1 coins
- Credit: central news
A Hornchurch dad-to-be is among three who plotted to flood the UK with a record-breaking £1.5million worth of fake one pound coins.
The trio were jailed for a total of 12 years in Southwark Crown Court today.
Ringleader Kevin Fisher, 54, recruited Daniel Sullivan, 29, from Bank Croft Chase, and Mark Abbott, 43, to help him flood the country with counterfeit coins - in the biggest ever case of its kind.
Police unearthed a huge stash of gold-coloured blank discs, ready to be transformed into metal currency, in two 40ft shipping containers at Park View Farm, in Waltham Abbey, Essex.
A further £24,500 worth of coins were also found in a van parked at the site.
Bucketfuls of bogus “good to go” coins, worth a total of £85,000, were seized at Pick Hill Demolition, 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, Southwark Crown Court heard.
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The gang used pay-as-you-go phones and coded messages in a bid to slip under the radar.
But they were oblivious to the fact they were being observed by officers during a two-day covert surveillance operation, before swooping in a series of raids.
The scam took place between May 1 and May 23, last year
Father-to-be Sullivan, a taxi driver, and father-of-three Abbott, a market trader from Cedar Park Road, Enfield, were involved in handling the coins.
Fisher, who was caught red-handed at Park View Farm, was also concerned with their production.
Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said: “The reliability of the money in our pockets is essential in every-day life.”
Jailing Fisher, of Rags Lane, Cheshunt, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, for seven years, Judge Loraine-Smith branded him the “prime mover”, adding: “It seems to me everything points to him running the show.
“I have no doubt you recruited at least one of the defendants (Sullivan), the son of an old friend of yours.”
Jailing Sullivan for three years the judge said: “I suspect your decisions, to some extent, were orchestrated by Kevin Fisher.”
Abbott was given two years in prison.
Fisher, was found guilty of conspiring to pass counterfeit coins, and having custody of items to make counterfeit coins.
Sullivan was found guilty of conspiring to pass counterfeit coins, and cleared of having items to make them by the jury, following a trial at the court last month.
Abbott pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to pass or give to another to pass a counterfeit of a protected coin.