Page last updated at 17:51 GMT, Friday, 27 March 2009

Forgers printed 8m of fake money

Banknotes
UK and Euro banknotes were printed by the counterfeiters

An 83-year-old man has been given a suspended sentence for his role in a counterfeiting gang which ran one of Britain's biggest banknote scams.

Five others were jailed for up to 45 months at Snaresbrook Crown Court. All admitted their parts in the operation.

The gang produced fake £20 and 50-euro notes and printed more than £8m-worth, many from the front room of Dennis Hancox's Chiswick home.

Hancox was given a nine-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to be tagged.

The gang ran their operation with regular meetings in South Acton Working Men's Club, west London, and in The Grove Tavern in Chiswick, the court heard.

The notes were sold to criminal gangs and the forgeries made their way into circulation throughout Europe.

Detectives from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency said the gang, who had an average age of almost 60, ran the operation like a business.

At its peak, they could produce 800 notes in an hour.

'Lavender Hill Mob'

The 10-month investigation also saw the arrest of Tony Rees, 46, who transported unfinished euro notes to Scotland and paid people to distribute them.

Rees, of Ramsey Gardens, Romford, Essex, was sentenced to 45 months in prison.

Michael Duffy, 60, of Claremont Grove, Chiswick, was sentenced to 45 months in prison and another 24 months to run concurrently.

Sheriff Oki, 29, of Edison Close, Walthamstow, east London, was ordered to serve 21 months for his role in the scam.

He was recently sentenced to eight years in prison for possession of a gun and ammunition.

James Allam, 59, of Campbell Road, Hanwell, west London, was sentenced to 45 months in prison, while Donald O'Flynn, 67, of England Lane, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, will serve 12 months.

Two other members of the gang, James Watson, 58, and Angus Weaver, 52, will be sentenced on 24 April.

All pleaded guilty to counterfeiting charges.

Judge William Kennedy said it would be wrong for people to become "misty-eyed" and liken it to the Ealing crime comedy The Lavender Hill Mob.

He said it was absolute nonsense to suggest that counterfeiting was a victimless crime.

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Dennis Hancox escaped a jail sentence for counterfeiting with the Chiswick gang because of his age



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