Belfast Telegraph

Newry man tried to import 450,000 fake £1 coins from Amsterdam, court hears

A 55-year-old man from Northern Ireland was part of a failed attempt to bring 450,000 counterfeit £1 coins into the UK from the Netherlands, a court has heard. (stock photo)
A 55-year-old man from Northern Ireland was part of a failed attempt to bring 450,000 counterfeit £1 coins into the UK from the Netherlands, a court has heard. (stock photo)

By Henry Clare

A 55-year-old man from Northern Ireland was part of a failed attempt to bring 450,000 counterfeit £1 coins into the UK from the Netherlands, a court has heard.

Edward Magill is accused of conspiring with lorry driver William Turnbull to bring the fake currency into the country.

A court heard yesterday how the defendant, from Poyntzpass, Newry, had made arrangements for the coins, which were manufactured in Amsterdam, to be transported by Mr Turnbull into the UK.

But the alleged plot was foiled, jurors heard, when the driver's flat-bed trailer was stopped by border control at the North Shields ferry terminal. Prosecutors explained how Mr Turnbull then produced a fake document indicating that he was shipping Scania truck parts in order to fulfil an order for a company in Northern Ireland.

When officers searched the vehicle, they found three pallets, each filled with six barrels of metal car washers.

Ian Mullarkey, prosecuting, told jurors: "The washers were effectively a veneer, under which was a substantial quantity of counterfeit coins".

He said that, after the fake currency was discovered, Mr Turnbull was convicted for his part in its attempted importation into the UK.

Magill denies conspiracy to evade the prohibition on the importation of counterfeit currency.

Mr Mullarkey said that the defendant had been involved in arranging the collection of the fake money, while Mr Turnbull's role was simply to collect and deliver it.

The prosecutor told jurors that it was significant that Magill had travelled from Belfast to Amsterdam on December 3, 2012 - 10 days before Mr Turnbull was arrested.

"The reason that Amsterdam is important, we say, is because you can come to the sure conclusion that the company that manufactured the counterfeit coins was based in the Westpoort area of Amsterdam," he said.

After making this trip, the defendant remained in contact with Mr Turnbull, who then phoned a contact in order to get himself a consignment to Belgium, the prosecutor added. "He needed some legitimate reason to travel to Amsterdam in order to collect the coins as this defendant had arranged for him," Mr Mullarkey said.

The prosecutor said that, after making that delivery, Mr Turnbull travelled back to the UK via Amsterdam, adding that the coins were picked up during the trip home.

It was upon arrival in North Shields on December 13, 2012 that the driver was arrested.

The court heard how Magill denies involvement in the movement of the coins, and that he said in an interview that any contact with Mr Turnbull was in relation to his own firm, Magill Transport.

The trial, which is expected to last around a week, continues.

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