Page last updated at 20:59 GMT, Friday, 4 December 2009

Family 'ran fake 1 coin factory'

Counterfeit pound coin
Maidstone Crown Court heard 8,000 of coins were found

Thousands of pounds' worth of fake £1 coins were uncovered at a counterfeiting factory during a raid on a farm in Kent, a court has heard.

The coin-making paraphernalia was found hidden in a concealed room behind wooden panelling at Tonge Corner Farm, Tonge, near Sittingbourne on 13 May.

Michael Silk, 70, of Iwade, Kent and Paul Bart, 65, of Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, deny making fake coins.

Mr Silk's son Stephen, 49, of Borden, Kent, has pleaded guilty to the charge.

Maidstone Crown Court was told on Friday that brothers-in-law Michael Silk and Mr Bart also deny having counterfeiting materials, including a hydraulic machine press, and possessing counterfeit coins with a view to distributing them as genuine.

Stephen Silk has admitted having counterfeiting materials.

Metal discs

Andrew Forsyth, prosecuting, told the court police forced entry into a rented industrial unit on the farm and found Michael and Stephen Silk.

They recovered £8,000 worth of prepared coins and 14,000 yellow metal discs waiting to be pressed.

When Michael Silk's coat was checked it contained keys, a remote device for an alarm system and an adapted spanner, which the Crown alleged was for use on the machinery.

But in interview he denied knowledge of any factory or being party to any manufacture of coins.

DNA found on some discarded latex gloves in a bin in the concealed press room was linked to Michael Silk.

Neighbours reported a male driver in a white Peugeot frequently visiting the unit, which the Crown allege was Mr Bart, Mr Forsyth said.

Mr Bart was arrested when he arrived at the unit during the police search.

He told officers he had a key to the unit but did odd jobs and denied any wrongdoing.

The trial continues.



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