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3 June 2011, 15:21
Two brothers have today been jailed for their part in making fake £20 pounds notes after a search warrant at an industrial unit near Maidstone.
Officials say when they caught the men in May 2010, they were beginning to mass produce the counterfeit notes which had the capacity to produced millions of pounds worth.
37 year old Colin Stephen Edgar a bricklayer formerly of Faversham has been jailed for 6 years. His brother 39 year old Christopher Edgar a builder from Bermondsey has been sentenced to 12 months in jail.
As a result of a partnership investigation between Kent Police's Serious Organised Crime Unit (part of Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate), and the Counterfeit Currency Unit (UKNCO) enquiries lead to Colin Edgar being arrested and a search warrant executed at an industrial unit in Laddingford, Kent on Thursday 6 May 2010.
Officers from Kent Police and SOCA's Counterfeit Currency Department, accompanied by an official from the Bank of England, found equipment which was being used to produce counterfeit money, together with partially printed £20 notes, foil, and ink. Fraudulent £20 notes were also found in various stages of production. A box containing forged £20 notes that were complete and ready to go into circulation was also discovered. Further equipment, including print plates, and files also indicated the capability to produce £50 notes. Investigations discovered thousands of pounds of finished notes (sterling) had already entered circulation.
Further enquiries lead officers to a search an address in Faversham, where Angela Edgar was arrested. Further equipment connected to the counterfeiting of money was discovered, including a hologram hot stamping foil.
Colin Edgar was found to have used a false name of Jim Carter to rent the premises in Yalding. He was charged on 7 May 2010 with three offences under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981, and one offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Christopher Edgar was arrested on 10 June 2010 for conspiracy to manufacture counterfeit currency. Christopher Edgar was also found to have bought supplies using the false name of Paul Richards. He was charged on 18 June 2010 with two offences relating to forgery and counterfeiting.
Detective Inspector Eddie Fox said:
"This was a deliberate and planned attempt at the mass production of counterfeit banknotes. The equipment and processes found were sophisticated, professional, and potentially capable of producing millions of pounds. This conspiracy began to take shape whilst Colin Edgar was in prison coming to the end of a previous prison sentence for similar offences. Upon release he immediately set about trying to accurately reproduce the bank notes. "The processes used by these criminals resulted in a £20 note that was very difficult to differentiate from a legitimate one. They were at the point where they were beginning to mass produce their perfected notes. The potential economic harm cannot be overstated.
"We worked very closely with SOCA officers and the Bank of England during this investigation, which culminated in bringing these three offenders before the court."
The presiding judge, Mr Recorder Gibson QC said
' This was a sophisticated enterprise for the production of counterfeit currency. Fortunately, this operation was closed down soon after the production of notes began.' He described it as a commercial enterprise, and said that Colin Edgar was the driving force who had already started to set up this operation before he was released from prison for a previous offence.