A fraudster who helped print £12 million worth of fake bank notes has been jailed in the largest seizure of counterfeit money in the UK.
Andrew Ainsworth, 61, was part of a gang that used specialist printing equipment to produce fraudulent £20 notes on an industrial scale.
Suspicion was raised when the Bank of England (BoE) noticed £1.8million of new counterfeit currency entering general circulation in January 2019.
Ainsworth, of Farningham, was found guilty of conspiring to produce counterfeit currency at Woolwich Crown Court in March and was sentenced to five-and-a-half years behind bars at the same court on Friday.
Three other members of the criminal network were jailed for a combined total of 22-and-a-half years in January 2021 after admitting their involvement.
A dog walker had found £5 million in fake notes in a residential road in Belvedere, south east London, in October 2019.
Three months later, a further £200,940 was discovered scattered along the railway line between Farningham and Longfield, Kent.
The cash was printed on machines usually used by companies making large volumes of magazines or leaflets.
Some of the materials used in the process were traced back to a printing press in Beckenham, south east London, owned by one of the gang members.
Two men were found surrounded by large piles of knock-off money and printing equipment when officers raided the industrial unit on Kent House Lane on 4 May, 2019.
They also found a list of names with numbers next to them, adding up to 5.25 million -the same value as the phoney cash.
Neil Harris, a senior officer at the National Crime Agency (NCA), said: "Had the conspirators remained undetected, the effects would have been felt by innocent people across the UK going about their day-to-day business, particularly retailers who would have lost most of that value."
Andrew Pritchard, assistant chief constable of Kent Police, added: "The printing press our officers raided in Beckenham was supposed to produce magazines, leaflets and flyers but instead contained the largest face-value quantity of counterfeit cash ever discovered in the UK.”