Police uncovered the largest haul of fake passports ever found in the UK as they smashed a massive counterfeiting ring, it was revealed today.
More than 1,800 fake passports with a street value of at least £1 million were discovered in a two-bedroom flat in north London.
Five men were in custody today after fake passports for at least 12 countries were found stuffed into a wardrobe, cupboard and briefcase.
Among the documents were 200 fake UK passports which are often considered by counterfeiters as too difficult to make.
Other passports were Finnish, Portuguese, Korean, Latvian, Slovenian, Albanian, Danish, Greek, Italian, Belgian and French.
Also found was a mass of hi-tech equipment including printers, scanners, two computers and various false immigration stamps.
Thousands of blank passport personal information pages as well as blank driving licence cards were also discovered.
When officers entered the property, a counterfeit driving licence was being printed in the back bedroom.
Three Eastern European men - one Kosovan and two Bulgarian - were arrested at the address in Poplar Grove, Colney Hatch, yesterday afternoon.
They are being held accused of conspiracy to manufacture identity documents and remain in custody at a north London police station.
Following the search, two more men - an Albanian and a Bulgarian - were arrested at addresses in Essex and Finchley, north London. Both remain in custody.
The operation was run by the Metropolitan Police's Operation Maxim unit.
This brings together police officers with agents from the Border and Immigration Agency and investigators from the Identity and Passport Service.
Detective Inspector Nick Downing, of the Metropolitan Police, said the raid smashed a well-established and organised criminal network.
He said the passports could have been sold on to anyone wanting to carry out fraud or enter the UK illegally.
He added: "They are sold on recklessly by those producing them without any regard to who they might be or why they might wish to avoid detection."Reuse content