Three men from Kent, Surrey and south east London involved in a conspiracy to supply over £12 million of counterfeit banknotes, must give up the real money they earned from their crimes.

Phillip BrownJohn Evans and Nick Winter were all jailed following an investigation in 2019 by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate. As part of the officers’ enquiries they carried out the largest face-value seizure of fake currency in UK history following a raid at a printing press in Beckenham.

It is believed the defendants profited from their conspiracy by selling the counterfeit money to other criminals, with the Bank of England having removed notes with a total face value of over £1.9 million from UK circulation.

A pallet of counterfeit cash located at a printing press in Beckenham

On Friday 9 June 2023 a judge at Woolwich Crown Court granted confiscation orders against Brown and Winter, requiring them to pay back what they have available in cash and other assets. In Brown’s case the amount is £201,761 whilst Winter must pay £4,000.

Evans had previously been ordered to pay £7,258 at an earlier hearing in November 2021.

Specialist equipment

An investigation into the group’s activities began when the Bank of England identified a new counterfeit paper £20 note had entered general circulation. The note appeared to have been produced using the type of specialist equipment that would normally be associated with a company printing large volumes of magazines or leaflets.

Enquiries established parts and materials associated with the production of fake currency on a commercial scale had been ordered and were linked to a printing press owned by Winter in Beckenham.

A search warrant was carried out on Saturday 4 May 2019 and inside officers found Brown and another man surrounded by printing equipment and large piles of counterfeit £20 notes, later confirmed as having a total face value of £5.25 million.

In the months that followed, further large amounts of counterfeit currency believed to have been printed by the group continued to be discovered.

Evans, 40, formerly from an address in Esher, Surrey, was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in January 2021 for his involvement in the conspiracy. The same day Brown, 56, previously from an address in Longfield, was jailed for six-and-a-half years.

Winter, 61, formerly of an address in Beckenham, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment the previous December.

Illegal activities

Detective Inspector David Godfrey said: ‘The Proceeds of Crime Team work very hard to establish how much offenders have earned from their illegal activities and have available to pay back. Those who fail to pay within a set timeframe have their prison sentences increased.

‘It is also important to note that we carry out regular reviews and can continue to seize any further cash and assets the offenders may come into in the future, until the total amount they benefited from is recovered.

‘The offenders in this case printed their own money but their criminal actions have ended up costing them their freedom and now the money they had no right to in the first place.’

Assets recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act are distributed to operational agencies including Kent Police under the Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme (ARIS). ARIS divides recovered assets between operational agencies and the Home Office which is then reinvested into policing.

By Ed

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