Multimillion counterfeit currency gang jailed

Eight men were jailed today for their roles in a multimillion-pound counterfeit currency operation.

The men were jailed at Sheffield Crown Court after they admitted conspiracy to pass counterfeit coins and notes earlier this week.

Detectives launched an investigation in 2008 and the gang, who were involved in passing fake £20 and 50 euro notes as well as £2 and £1 coins, were eventually trapped by an undercover police officer.

South Yorkshire Police said the group was linked to the "organised wholesale distribution of counterfeit currency running into millions of pounds".

A police spokesman said: "A total of £237,000 was recovered from the group of men, although it is believed they are responsible for the distribution of much more."

He said that since the arrests, the Bank of England has seen a reduction in the number of counterfeit £20 notes registered on their database.

The longest sentences were given to Yasin Patel, 45, of Glenfield Close, Blackburn, and Derrick Davies, 46, of Grove Road, Old Buckingham, Attleborough, Norfolk, who were each jailed for four and a half years. Davies was jailed for a further nine months for a passport offence.

Malcolm Moate, 56, of Landsdowne Close, Thurnscoe, Barnsley, was sentenced to four years; Michael Kinghorn, 63, of Strafford Street, Barnsley, was sentenced to 16 months; Peter Edwards, 57, of Pickard Street, London, EC1, was sentenced to two and a half years; Michael Maddon, 66, of Beckett Street, Burmantofts, Leeds, was sentenced to 18 months; Norman Oliver, 62, of Goole, East Yorkshire, was sentenced to 12 months; and Terence Quinn, 59, of Immingham, north-east Lincolnshire, was also sentenced to 12 months.

The investigation - Operation Merge - was led by South Yorkshire Police along with Humberside Police and with assistance from the Lancashire, Norfolk and West Yorkshire forces.

The Serious and Organised Crime Agency was also involved.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Thompson, of South Yorkshire Police, said: "Together we have succeeded in significantly disrupting the criminality of an organised crime group involved in the wholesale supply and distribution of millions of pounds worth of counterfeit notes and coins."

Detective Superintendent Phil Walker, from Humberside Police, said: "This is an excellent example of the success that can be achieved through regional policing. I am very proud of the contribution made by Humberside Police to this operation to tackle the supply of counterfeit currency across England.

"I would also like to convey my thanks publicly to all involved for a job well done. Everyone can be rightly proud of their achievements."

Detective Inspector Martin Kane, from Lancashire police, said: "This was a joint collaborative investigation and we are extremely satisfied with the outcome. It sends out a positive message that those involved in these types of offences will be targeted and caught.

"Lancashire Constabulary is committed to working with other agencies where criminal enterprise crosses force boundaries."