A gang made £1 and £2 metal coins worth £10,355 in just one month by painting lead with silver and gold paint. Mark French, Tony Rees and Anthony Dunn bought ingots of lead metal to put through their own press in an east London factory. The gang can processed enough metal to make £16,000 worth of counterfeit currency in a month.
The men sprayed the fakes £1 and £2 metal coins with gold and silver paint. Each moulded coin had to have a penny placed in the centre before it was sprayed gold and then each was finished by hand to make them appear more genuine. They disguised their factory as a vehicle recovery garage. Police had been keeping the men under observation and raided two premises; a rented business unit in Tarling Road, Canning Town and a house in nearby Hoy Street. Royal Mint experts examined the buckets of coins and found they were crude copies. The coins would not have been accepted in a vending machine because they were magnetic and the wrong size.
Judge Richard Hone jailed Dunn for nine months, Rees for a year and gave French a nine-month sentence suspended for two years. The judge said he took into account the coins were ‘of poor visual quality’ and that the conspiracy ran for just over a month in April of last year. Rees has a previous conviction for conspiracy to make fake Euro notes.
French, left, and Dunn, right, were convicted alongside Tony Rees for their roles in the east London-based operation
On May 2012, The Metropolitan Police seize fake coins totalling more than £4 million from three properties in North London, Hertfordshire and Essex. Most of the counterfeit coins were found in a 40ft freight container at Waltham Abbey, Essex. Police also found some of the counterfeits in two vehicles. In total, four million blank £1 coins and £107,000 in completed counterfeits. Metropolitan police believe this is the biggest counterfeit recovery in UK so far.