North East Wales

'Incompetent' forger jailed for fake notes in Wrexham

Scottish notes
Image caption The forger thought fake Scottish notes would be less recognisable

An "incompetent" forger who photocopied Scottish £10 notes and used them in Wrexham shops has been jailed for two years.

Planning officer Ian Michael Andrew used photocopiers near his Cheshire home to make the forged notes, Mold Crown Court heard.

Andrew, who admitted passing, possessing and making counterfeit currency, decided to spend the notes in Wales where he thought shop staff might not recognise them as fakes.

He was caught when a security system warned counterfeit money was in use.

Andrew, from Sandbach, in Cheshire, used a fake £10 note in the Iceland store in Wrexham and 15 minutes later went to WH Smith where a note was seized.

Police arrested him in a McDonalds restaurant where he was about to buy a meal. He crumpled a note up in his hand as officers approached.

"I got them from Inverness," Andrew initially told officers.

More fake Scottish notes and a map of Wrexham town centre with the names and locations of various stores written upon it were taken by police, prosecutor Sandra Subacchi told the court.

At his home, police found a further 104 fake notes.

Andrew told police he had made the notes on public photocopying machines because of financial hardship following a divorce.

Henry Hills, defending, said the defendant had become obsessed with saving money.

He said: "He was scrimping and saving to the extent that he was not eating properly. If there was a buffet in work he would take home the leftovers."

"The notes were crude and it was not a sophisticated offence," he added.

Judge Philip Richards said that the fact that a criminal was incompetent was not a ground for reducing a sentence.

"They are very serious offences which go to the root of the currency system within the UK," Judge Richards said.

The judge said Andrew had "taken the easy option" of duplicating more than 100 currency notes for his own financial gain.

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