Belfast Telegraph

Belfast flat 'turned into factory making fake cheque books and credit cards'

A north Belfast flat was turned into a factory producing fake cheque books and credit cards, the High Court heard today.

Police seized printing equipment, computers and specialist sandpaper used to erase legitimate owners' names.

Details of the counterfeiting operation were disclosed as a man accused of involvement was refused bail.

Geshem Madzukae, 38, faces charges of possessing articles for use in fraud, fraud by false representation, and handling stolen goods.

He was arrested along with a co-accused after police searched his Cliftonville Avenue address in November last year.

Prosecution barrister Tessa Kitson said 81 items were seized in the raid, including printers, laptops, memory sticks, bank cards and cheques.

"Police would advise that the premises really comprised a factory for making fake cheque books, forged cheques and credit cards," she told the court.

Strips of sandpaper were also recovered at that location and in follow-up searches of another nearby property on the Antrim Road.

"It's used on a stolen chequebook to erase the name of the owner so another name can be inserted," Mrs Kitson explained.

"It's very fine, not what one would normally understand to be sandpaper. The printing machine would then enable another name to be printed."

Madzukae denies involvement in the alleged fraud, blaming a third man who he claimed had also been living in the flat.

However, Mrs Kitson said police travelled to England question this man last month and established he was not in Northern Ireland at the relevant time.

Richard McConkey, defending, argued that Madzukae should be released due to delays in dealing with the case.

But refusing bail, Lord Justice Coghlin ruled: "I'm quite satisfied that there is both a risk of further offences and a risk of departure on behalf of this man."

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