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Counterfeiter jailed for forging bank notes at Sacriston flat
A SKILLED forger was back to his old ways within weeks of his release from a previous prison sentence.
John Bennett was today (Wednesday March 6) jailed for six years and nine months for producing counterfeit Bank of England and Royal Bank of Scotland notes at his flat in Sacriston, County Durham.
Durham Crown Court heard that he was the “go to” man to put the finishing touches to draft £20 and £50 notes.
They trickled into circulation last year, shortly after his release from a seven-year prison sentence for previous counterfeiting offences, which cost Bennett his home in Oakenshaw, near Willington.
It was sold to raise £34,000 as proceeds of crime following his 2008 conviction.
Joanne Kidd, prosecuting, said as part of that sentence Bennett was made subject of a serious crime prevention order (SCPO) forbidding him taking part in similar activity.
He was released on licence on February 13 last year, but by March 12 the first forged note “attributable to him” from his new batch came to light.
Bennett was arrested in August and given a conditional discharge for failing to notify police of his address, in breach of the terms of the order.
Miss Kidd said Bennett used forged notes to buy items at Comet, in Durham, in September, and Waterstones, in Middlesbrough, in October.
The bookstore warned other branches after the two £50 notes he used were found to be fake and three days later a suspicious staff member refused to serve Bennett, at Waterstones, in Durham.
Police were informed and, within minutes, Bennett was arrested in the Market Place in possession of £915 in notes, £450 of which was counterfeit.
His home at St Peter’s Court, Sacriston, was searched and £900 in genuine currency, plus £8,860 in forgeries, were recovered, while other notes appeared to be in the production process.
Bennett, 56, admitted six charges relating to making, possessing and using counterfeit currency, plus having items to make them, and one count for breaching the SCPO.
Tony Davis, mitigating, said: “He’s a recidivist offender who’s addicted to the challenge of replicating the Queen’s currency.
“When he was released he was immediately the first port of call for criminally sophisticated elements, aware of his skills.”
Jailing him Judge Christopher Prince told Bennett: “It’s clear you were perfecting the process of production, finishing the counterfeit notes so they could be placed in circulation or used by you.
“You were clearly going to go onto produce much more currency.”
Judge Prince ordered confiscation of all money and equipment seized by police and also made Bennett subject of a further SCPO.