"The Heckmondwicke counterfeiters"

[Sources: National Crime Squad press releases, 2nd August 2000 and 3rd August 2000; This is Lancashire, 3 August 2000, 11 November 2000, 3 September 2001]

At 7.30 of the evening of Tuesday first August 2000 "dectectives swooped on to two vehicles ... in a car park...at Royton, Oldham". Four people, 3 men and a woman, were arrested and about 20,000 of counterfeit one-pound coins found in several black bin liners. In a subsequent search of premises at Grove Mills, Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, police found equipment for the smelting and manufacture of counterfeit one-pound coins. The National Crime Squad was involved in interviewing the arrested suspects but no information was released as to how the operation was detected.

The woman was released with no charges. Two of the men who lived in Blackburn were charged with conspirancy to manufacture counterfeit coins. A third man, from Oldham, plus the previous two men were charged with conspirancy to possess and distribute counterfeit coins. The two Blackburn men were brought to trial at Manchester Crown Court in September 2001. No reports can be found as to the outcome of the trial. It is believed that guilty verdicts resulted.

Comment

It is believed the police rated this as a significant operation. It appears to have been producing a relatively high volume of white metal cast, counterfeit one-pound coins. No information is available about the coating used on the counterfeits. The casting operation is not believed to have been very sophisticated. A few years later a rumour circulated that a similar operation had restarted in nothern England, but no confirmation could be found. This case disproves the belief that all white metal cast counterfeit coins are produced on a small scale.

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