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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 October 2007, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
Fake £20 notes gang sent to jail
Thomas McAnea and John McGregor
Ringleader Thomas McAnea and deputy John McGregor

Six men have been jailed for their part in a counterfeiting fraud that could have destabilised the British economy.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lord Bracadale handed down sentences totalling more than 22 years.

Ringleader Thomas McAnea, 57, from Yoker, in Glasgow, admitted delivering, selling or disposing of fake notes.

In sentencing the gang, Lord Bracadale said: "It is essential that people can ... be confident that banknotes they receive and use ... are genuine."

McAnea, whose nickname is Hologram Tam, was jailed for six years and four months.

His deputy John McGregor, 49, from Lambhill, in Glasgow, was jailed for four years.

They were caught in a police operation, called Fender, in January.

Highly sophisticated

When police entered Print Link Ltd, on St George's Road in the city, they found an Aladdin's cave of counterfeit cash.

McGregor was printing about half a million fake Bank of Scotland £20 notes and he later admitted making the notes.

A police picture of the printing press at Print Link Ltd

Other raids across the city resulted in the recovery of thousands of pounds worth of counterfeit euros.

The gang had the capability to make £1m worth of forged notes every two to three hours.

Graeme Pearson, of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, said: "The business, now running as a legitimate enterprise, is based in the west end of Glasgow.

"Its stock-in-trade was take-away menus for restaurants but behind the façade was a forgery team in demand and deemed the best of its kind in the UK.

"Police had begun undercover surveillance on the gang after suspicion arose in England that a multi-million pound operation was being run from Glasgow.

"The notes were destined for Europe but there are suspicions he was paid by organised crime lords all over the UK.

"It's the first time Scotland had seen such a level of sophistication."

Innocent victims

The others jailed were Joseph McKnight, 56, Robert Fulton , 62, Rodney Cadogan, 39, and Steven Todd, 23.

McKnight and Fulton, both from Glasgow, were convicted of helping to distribute counterfeit money.

McKnight was jailed for three years while Fulton was sentenced to four years in prison.

Cadogan, from London, was caught with more than 100,000 euros and jailed for 15 months.

Todd, from Possilpark, in Glasgow, admitted delivering, selling or disposing of forged notes.

(l - r) Robert Fulton, Steven Todd, Joseph McKnight and Rodney Cadogan
The gang are now serving sentences of up to four years

He was sentenced to four years in prison.

Lord Bracadale said the evidence in this case all pointed to the activities being "part of a sophisticated operation at the top end of the scale of production and distribution".

He said: "Paper money is an important part of the whole economy of this and other countries.

"Every day, ordinary people use banknotes to make purchases or engage in financial transactions of one kind or other.

"It is essential people can have general confidence in a currency and, in particular, confidence the banknotes they receive and use to pay for things are genuine.

"The issue of counterfeit notes not only undermines the economy of a country, but is likely to result in loss being sustained by innocent people who find themselves in possession of these notes only to discover they are worthless."

A seventh accused admitted possessing computer equipment capable of producing fake Young Scot cards, college identification and UK driving licenses.

Maria Campbell, 39, from Old Kilpatrick, West Dunbartonshire, was ordered to carry out 150 hours of community service.

It's not the first time McAnea has fallen foul of the law.

In 1998 he was jailed for 10 years - convicted for his part in a plot to flood Europe with fake banknotes.

Within seven months he was free - released by the Court of Appeal on a technicality. Ironically it was a printing mistake on the arrest warrant.



SEE ALSO
Gang 'capable of faking millions'
04 Sep 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
'Forgers' freed after appeal
02 Aug 00 |  Scotland

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