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UK News City of London Police jail crime gang selling fake money, drugs and guns

16:10  29 september  2020
16:10  29 september  2020 Source:   cityam.com

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  City of London Police jail crime gang selling fake money, drugs and guns © Provided by City AM

Several members of a major London crime gang have been jailed by City of London Police after pleading guilty to conspiring to sell fake bank notes, guns and Class A drugs.

Five members of the organised crime network were handed jail sentences at Inner London Crown Court on Friday, following a three-year police investigation into the gang’s circulation of counterfeit bank notes.

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Gang leader Darren Watkinson, of London Road, Essex, was sentenced to 10 years and four months in jail after pleading guilty to charges relating to the sale of fake money, firearms, tear gas and Class A drugs — thought to be cocaine and methamphetamine.

City of London Police, which oversees policing in the Square Mile, worked in collaboration with the Bank of England and the National Crime Agency’s Counterfeit Currency Unit (UKNCO) to close in on the gang’s circulation of counterfeit money.

Under Watkinson’s command, the group were found selling counterfeit £20 notes for prices ranging from £3.50 and £5.80 a note, and £50 notes for £12.50.

Other gang members William Fullerton, Adam Abela, Mario Abela and Barry Latif were also jailed for their involvement in the criminal network.

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A spokesman for City of London Police said: ‘The City of London Police has disrupted a large scale organised crime gang responsible for taking orders of cocaine from City workers and delivering the drugs in the Square Mile and central London .

Latif, of Chapman Street in Tower Hamlets, was handed a seven-year jail sentence after being found in possession of a revolver in a public place while arrested by armed officers.

Detective constable Sally Prinsloo, who led the investigation into the gang’s activities, said: “The City of London Police is committed to disrupting serious and organised crime.  We worked tirelessly to dismantle this crime group, who were selling counterfeit money, drugs and firearms, with input from our partners at the Bank of England and the UKNCO.

“Thanks to this proactive police action, a number of dangerous criminals have been jailed, and a large amount of counterfeit notes and a firearm have been taken out of circulation, making our streets and local communities safer.”

More than 427,000 counterfeit banknotes with a face value of £9.8m were taken out of circulation in the UK in 2019.

Counterfeit bank note circulation has steadily decreased over recent years after the Bank of England introduced polymer notes in 2016 in a bid to curb the spread of fake cash.

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Fraudsters tend to focus on the production of fake £20 and £50 notes to up their gains, with bogus £20 notes making up 90 per cent of all counterfeit money seized in 2019.

A new polymer £20 note featuring British artist JMW Turner was introduced in February, with a paper-free £50 note featuring mathematician Alan Turing set to follow in 2021.

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