Page last updated at 18:10 GMT, Monday, 20 April 2009 19:10 UK

Couple jailed for fake ID factory

Adrian Holmes and Lucy Sanders
Holmes and Sanders made an estimated 300,000 over two years

A couple who set up and ran an international fake ID factory from their Cheshire home have been jailed.

Adrian Holmes and Lucy Sanders made about £300,000 from a website targeting young people hoping to break drinking laws, Chester Crown Court heard.

The pair, who admitted a charge of conspiring to supply articles for use in fraud, had orders from as far away as Singapore and Japan.

Holmes, 32, of Lymm, was jailed for two years and Sanders, 28, one year.

The court heard that Holmes was the brains behind the operation, designing the website and cards while Sanders made them in their basement.

The site boasted testimonials from underage drinkers hailing the "absolutely fantastic" cards that "never failed".

They knew full well what their customers were using the IDs for
Peter Moss, prosecuting

They were highly sophisticated - featuring holograms and chips - and came in the form of driving licences, permits and UK identity cards.

All customers needed to do was email their photograph, date of birth, signature and pay £20.

Saying it was the first prosecution of its kind, Peter Moss, for the crown, said the pair did not care what the cards were used for as long as they were getting paid.

"It's a feature of the case that if you paid your money you got what you asked for," said Mr Moss.

"It didn't matter how many you asked for, you got what you wanted.

"They knew full well what their customers were using the IDs for."

'Successful enterprise'

Trading standards officers and police raided their home in Lymmington Avenue, Lymm, in April 2008.

Documents were found that showed the couple had £165,000 in one bank account and could make up to 40 fake cards a day.

The couple were caught after licensees and community support officers in Cheshire were handed batches of cards confiscated by door staff.

Judge Elgin Edwards, the Recorder of Chester, described the business as a "novel and highly successful enterprise".

Trading Standards manager Vanessa Griffiths has welcomed the sentences

He said: "This business effectively drove a coach and horses through an area of control of youthful drinking and access to nightclubs.

"And there is the danger of even more serious misuse."

Later, Vanessa Griffiths, trading standards manager at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said officers were pleased with the "deterrent sentences".

"It is the first prosecution of its type and we hope it sends out a strong message to anybody else operating or considering this kind of business," she added.

Ms Griffiths said there were other investigations ongoing and more prosecutions were expected to follow.

An assets hearing for Holmes and Sanders will be held in July.

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