A ROLL of poor fake £20 notes, which were inside a box bought at a car boot sale, landed a mum on income support with a £365 court bill.
The notes were still on an uncut roll – and described in court as looking like “Monopoly money” – and Jody Moon (27) kept them only because her tiny daughter wanted to use them with a toy shop till.
But the mum fell foul of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act of 1981 and pleaded guilty to having in her custody a thing which she knew or believed to be a counterfeit of a currency note, namely £480 in £20 notes.
Spalding magistrates on Thursday fined Moon £265 and ordered her to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
Presiding magistrate Jenny Freere-Cook said the fine was at the top end of the scale because it was such a serious offence.
The court heard police executed a search warrant at Moon’s home in Long Road, Tydd Gote, at 9.20am on September 28 last year.
Jill Derby, prosecuting, said police entered through the conservatory and came across a roll of £20 notes with a total face value of £480.
The notes were sent to the Bank of England and an official from the bank confirmed they were not genuine.
Solicitor Daven Naghen, mitigating, told magistrates it was a slightly unusual offence and didn’t even appear in their sentencing guidelines.
He said it was a ‘strict liability’ offence and a person was guilty as charged simply by being in possession of a copy of a bank note.
So far as the law was concerned it didn’t matter whether a note was in a fit state to be passed, ie whether it was a good counterfeit or otherwise.
Mr Naghen continued: “I would say these were clearly fake notes and she never had any intention of using them.”
No one in court saw a copy of the notes found at the mum’s home.
Mr Naghen explained: “It’s actually an offence for anyone even to photocopy a counterfeit without the permission of the Bank of England.”
He said the notes didn’t have the silver stripe down the side and were little more than photocopies.
They were on a roll – they hadn’t even been cut out – and Moon’s daughter expressed a wish to use them with her till.
Mr Naghen said Moon described the notes as being like “Monopoly money”, the kind of notes you get in a game.
Magistrates asked Mrs Derby to comment on the quality of the notes.
The prosecutor replied: “It does say in the pre-charge advice that it did look like Monopoly money.”