Newry man jailed over attempt to import £450,000 of fake pound coins into Britain

Newry man jailed over attempt to import £450,000 of fake pound coins into Britain

A MAN from Northern Ireland has been jailed for more than four years for masterminding an attempt to import almost half-a-million fake pound coins into Britain.

Edward Magill, 55, from Poyntzpass, Newry, worked with a corrupt haulier to smuggle a consignment of coins from the Netherlands to Britain in December 2012.

The old-style round pound coins were manufactured illegally at the European Central Mint (ECM) in Westpoort, near Amsterdam.

They were concealed beneath a layer of metal washers and hidden in barrels in a trailer driven by William Turnbull of Northumberland.

They were discovered in Turnbull's trailer by Border Force officers carrying out checks at North Shields ferry terminal.

Not working alone

Turnbull was jailed for 20 months for his role in the conspiracy in July 2015.

However a National Crime Agency investigation found that Turnbull wasn’t working alone.

His phone contained a contact labelled 'EMC', a number with which he had been in contact in the period immediately before the North Shields seizure.

The EMC number had been in contact with Turnbull around the same time as five other deliveries made by him, each time carrying loads of what investigators now believe were contraband goods imported from to Northern Ireland.

Investigators were able to link this number to Magill, who travelled over to the Netherlands just days before the attempted coin importation.

On the morning Turnbull was detained by Border Force at North Shields, a number of unanswered calls were made to him from the EMC number.

Turnbull made a five-second call back, minutes before his arrest. It was the last time the EMC number was ever used.

Following a two-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court, Magill was found guilty on December 13 of conspiring to import fake currency and sentenced to 50 months in prison.

'Crucial role'

"This has been a lengthy and complex investigation into a significant seizure involving a large quantity of high-quality fake coins," said NCA branch commander Mark Spoors.

"Those coins were destined for the pockets of unsuspecting members of the public across the UK.

"There is no doubt in my mind that Magill played a crucial role in this importation, he was the one in contact with the coin manufacturers in the Netherlands, and Turnbull was working on his behalf to bring them over.

"Working with our Dutch colleagues we were able to piece together Magill's movements and conclusively link him to the coin factory and Turnbull."